Volume 39 - Article 41 | Pages 1081–1104

Late-life health effects of teenage motherhood

By Viola Angelini, Jochen Mierau

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Date received:22 May 2017
Date published:16 Nov 2018
Word count:6706
Keywords:depression, Europe, motherhood, self-rated health, teenage childbearing


Background: Teenage motherhood has been associated with a host of adverse outcomes over the life cycle. Less, however, is known about the impact of teenage motherhood on health later in life.

Objective: To study the impact of teenage motherhood on late-life health, using a retrospective survey of almost 12,000 women aged 50+ from 13 European countries containing detailed information on early-life circumstances.

Methods: We develop linear models of the association between teenage motherhood and late-life health outcomes. We control for early-life factors parametrically as well as through propensity score matching. In addition, we employ recently developed methods to derive consistent lower-bound estimates for the causal impact of teenage motherhood on late-life health outcomes.

Results: We find that teenage mothers experience substantially poorer self-reported late-life health and are more likely to display depressive symptoms than nonteenage mothers. This result remains after controlling for early-life as well contemporaneous socioeconomic conditions.

Contribution: We exploit recently developed empirical techniques to derive consistent lower bounds of the causal impact of teenage motherhood on health later in life using a cross-national survey of early-life and contemporaneous socioeconomic conditions.

Author's Affiliation

Viola Angelini - Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Netherlands [Email]
Jochen Mierau - Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Netherlands [Email]

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