Age, Cohort, and Social Change: Parental and Spousal Education and White Women’s Health Limitations From 1967 to 2012

Academic Article


  • A large body of research finds that the association between educational attainment and health is at historic highs for White women. Rapid changes in labor force participation, access to high-paying jobs, and gender attitudes have radically altered the meaning of education for women’s lives and their dependence on the socioeconomic attainments of their families. Drawing on three nationally representative longitudinal surveys conducted from 1967 to 2012, this study examines how personal, parental, and spousal attainments contribute to the widening education gap in health for successive cohorts of White women (N = 8,405). Overall, the health of women did not change substantially across cohorts, but results did uncover cohort differences among low-educated women that were linked to parental and spousal educational attainments and personal earnings. These findings confirm growing educational inequalities in health and demonstrate the importance of historical context and family attainments when examining cohort variation in the education–health relationship.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wolfe JD
  • Start Page

  • 186
  • End Page

  • 210
  • Volume

  • 41
  • Issue

  • 2