Pathways to Exceptional Longevity: Effects of Early-Life and Intermediate Factors on Later-Life Mortality

Valérie Jarry, Université de Montréal
Alain Gagnon, Université de Montréal
Robert R. Bourbeau, Université de Montréal

A substantial body of literature has focused on early-life as a source of longevity differential in old age. The channels through which early-life is hypothesized to influence mortality are diverse and could be direct or indirect. In this paper we discuss biodemographic and socioeconomic factors in early-life which could affect an individual’s chance to reach the advanced ages, with a particular focus on siblings of centenarians. Using an event-history database that links individuals to their childhood characteristics gathered from the 1901 and 1911 Canadian census records and to their adult characteristics, we address two questions: Are early-life conditions associated with longevity among the oldest old; and Do adult SES and mariage mediate the effect of early-life environment on later life survival? Non-parametric analyzes are performed to estimate the effect of each early-life and adult variables using the Kaplan-Meier estimator as well as gender-specific proportional hazard models with a Gompertz specification of the risk of mortality.

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Presented in Session 46: Life Course Approaches to Health and Mortality