Your education, my health? The importance of the socioeconomic resources of family members for individuals’ health, care and survival

Project leader

Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2015
End date: 31/12/2017
Funding: 2730000 SEK


In Sweden and elsewhere, well-educated people can expect to live longer than their less well-educated counterparts. Research on the association between own education, as well as other dimensions of socioeconomic resources, is widespread. It is further established that family socioeconomic background is linked to health both in childhood and later life. Yet, socioeconomic resources of partners and, in particular, adult children are less often included in descriptions or explanations of social inequalities in health and mortality. Utilizing population register data, regional treatment registers, and panel surveys, we will analyze the extent to which, the situations in which, and why immediate family member’s socioeconomic resources are related to individuals’ life chances. We plan to examine potential pathways for three health-related outcomes: health, health care, and survival.

Unique survey information on socioeconomic and health factors of Swedish couples over time allows us to further investigate the relationship between one partner’s socioeconomic position and the second partner’s health. We also aim to consider the importance of family structure and resources – of partners as well as adult children – in health care utilization and treatments. For an ill and aging individual, who may not be able to fully use his or hers own resources, it may be important to have close family members with good resources who can help in a variety of health-related situations.

Because of increased longevity, it is not uncommon that two (or even three) adult generations are alive at the same time. Still, we know very little about how the socioeconomic resources of the younger generations affect the life chances of the older generation. The present research project therefore widens the family perspective in health inequality research and includes adult children.

Last updated on 2017-23-03 at 09:03