Military service and (dis)continuity in the life course: Evidence on disadvantage and mortality from the Health and Retirement Study and the Study of Assets and Health Dynamics among the Oldest-Old

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31 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study uses a life-course framework and data from the Health and Retirement Study and the Study of Assets and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest-Old to examine three hypotheses related to (dis)continuity in the effects of early-life disadvantage (African American race and low paternal education) and military service on later-life mortality. Specifically, the authors consider whether military service (and age at enlistment) mediates or moderates the effects of early-life disadvantage on later-life mortality and whether mid- to late-life marital status, socioeconomic status, health status, and health behaviors mediate the effects of military service on mortality. The authors find very little evidence to support the notion that any mortality benefits accrue to men as a consequence of military service overall or enlistment at any particular age. Most of the evidence is consistent with life-course disruption and continuity of disadvantage interpretations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-159
Number of pages25
JournalResearch on Aging
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

Keywords

  • Cumulative disadvantage
  • Life course
  • Military service
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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