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Lifetime trajectories of socio-economic adversity and their associations with psychosocial factors and attitudes towards social class

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rachel CooperORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© Authors 2020..Scientific understanding of the associations between socio-economic adversity and other domains such as health and psychosocial functioning may be improved by employing extensive, prospective life course data to model inter-individual heterogeneity in socio-economic trajectories. This study applied Latent Class Growth Analysis to derive a typology of trajectories of socio-economic adversity, and compared the psychosocial profiles of the groups based on this typology. Data were used from 2,950 men and women participating in the MRC National Survey of Health and Development in Great Britain, ascertained prospectively since birth in 1946 until age 53. Trajectories of socio-economic adversity were based on indicators of occupational class, overcrowding, housing tenure, household amenities and financial hardship at ages 4, 11, 15, 36, 43 and 53, and education at age 26. Psychosocial factors included parental interest in education, self-management, neuroticism and attitudes towards social class and social mobility. Seven distinct trajectories were identified: persistent high; persistent low; strongly declining; gradually declining; increasing; early childhood; and relapsing high adversity. Key findings include that those with increasing adversity had high parental interest in education but low self-management and high neuroticism; that those with only early childhood adversity had a less favourable psychosocial profile than those with persistent low exposure; and that groups with declining adversity had relatively favourable attitudes towards education. Findings emphasise the need to consider socio-economic and personality mechanisms in the context of one another in order to better understand later life inequality.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kok AAL, Huisman M, Cooper R, Cosco TD, Deeg DJH, Kuh D, Stafford M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Longitudinal and Life Course Studies

Year: 2020

Volume: 11

Issue: 1

Pages: 81-104

Print publication date: 01/01/2020

Online publication date: 13/12/2019

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Date deposited: 27/01/2022

ISSN (electronic): 1757-9597

Publisher: Policy Press

URL: .

DOI: 10.1332/175795919X15717233852148


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