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Education Inequality in Mortality: The Age and Gender Specific Mediating Effects of Cigarette Smoking

Citation

Denney, Justin T.; Rogers, Richard G.; Hummer, Robert A.; & Pampel, Fred C. (2010). Education Inequality in Mortality: The Age and Gender Specific Mediating Effects of Cigarette Smoking. Social Science Research, 39(4), 662-673. PMCID: PMC2885918

Abstract

A debate within the mortality literature centers around the impact of health behaviors on the prospects of disadvantaged groups. Meanwhile, a growing body of work illustrates the social processes that shape changes in smoking levels by socioeconomic status (SES), especially educational attainment. These literatures are merged by examining the mediating effects of cigarette smoking on education gaps in U.S. adult mortality by age and gender. Findings reveal that cigarette smoking is an important mediator of the education–mortality gap for all males and for younger females. In particular, education–mortality gaps for young men narrow considerably when cigarette smoking is accounted for, while older women experienced no reduction in the education–mortality gap with controls for smoking. These results are consistent with diffusion arguments that describe SES differences in smoking adoption by age and gender and provide strong evidence that smoking is an important differentiator of mortality risks by education.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2010.02.007

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2010

Journal Title

Social Science Research

Author(s)

Denney, Justin T.
Rogers, Richard G.
Hummer, Robert A.
Pampel, Fred C.

PMCID

PMC2885918