Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research

No 1/2012: Childhood Peer Status and the Clustering of Adverse Living Conditions in Adulthood

Ylva B. Almquist () and Lars Brännström ()
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Ylva B. Almquist: Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS), Postal: Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Lars Brännström: Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, Postal: SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Within the context of the school class, children attain a social position in the peer hierarchy to which varying amounts of status are attached. Several studies have shown that children’s peer status is associated with a wide range of social and health-related outcomes. These studies commonly target separate outcomes, paying little attention to the fact that such circumstances are likely to go hand in hand. The overarching aim of the present study was therefore to examine the impact of childhood peer status on the clustering of living conditions in adulthood. Based on a 1953 cohort born in Stockholm, Sweden, multinomial regression analysis demonstrated that children who had lower peer status also had exceedingly high risks of ending up in more problem-burdened clusters as adults. Moreover, these associations remained after adjusting for a variety of family-related circumstances. We conclude that peer status constitutes a central aspect of children’s upbringing with important consequences for subsequent life chances, over and above the influences originating from the family.

Keywords: childhood; peer status; cohort; life course; outcome profiles; living conditions

37 pages, January 11, 2012

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