Applying causal inference models to the life course links among socioeconomic position, health, and healthcare use
11 / 2006 - 11 / 2007
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - NWO
Life course epidemiology studies the complex links between lifetime risk factor exposures and adult health. Diseases in adulthood result from both adult risk factors and early socioeconomic and other exposures. Standard statistical techniques are not appropriate for life course research settings where both exposures and outcomes vary with time. This research proposal hypothesizes that critical and cumulative experiences of socioeconomic position and other determinants over a lifetime shape both health and healthcare use in adulthood. What makes people more likely to fall sick over their lifetime may also define how they use healthcare in adulthood. This is the first study to place a life course perspective on healthcare use, and to use formal causal models for such analytical perspective. The core goal of this research is to illustrate the usefulness of advanced causal inference models in life course health research by using such techniques, interdisciplinary knowledge, and theory to quantify the life course causal effects of socioeconomic exposures and health on the likelihood and frequency of healthcare use in adulthood. This research will contribute to improved causal inference for life course research and to the subject matter on how lifetime socioeconomic experiences determine both health outcomes and healthcare needs.