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Open AccessArticle

The Intergenerational Transmission of Early Childbearing: Examining Direct and Indirect Associations in a Swedish Birth Cohort

Department of Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Box 281, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(5), 54;
Received: 17 April 2019 / Revised: 9 May 2019 / Accepted: 10 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Influence of Childhood Conditions on the Whole Life)
Background. Research shows that early childbearing is associated negatively with educational attainment and socioeconomic status (SES). Children born to young versus older mothers often do less well in school, and many have early first births. Some studies suggest that mothers’ early childbearing operates through SES to influence the daughters’ early childbearing, and some argue that the association is strong net of SES. The current study tests these direct and indirect associations. Methods. We estimate the pathways through which mothers’ early childbearing influences daughters’ early childbearing in several steps. First, we examine bivariate associations between mothers’ early childbearing and SES, followed by bivariate associations between mothers’ SES outcomes and their daughters’ early childbearing. We then estimate the average marginal effects (AMEs) of mothers’ early children on daughters’, and a KHB decomposition to examine direct and indirect associations. Results. Findings suggest both direct and indirect associations. Nested models show that, net of a range of SES characteristics, mothers’ early childbearing increases the probability of daughters’ by approximately 8%; and KHB results suggest 37% mediation, with daughters’ school performance (12%) and household educational attainment (10%) contributing the highest shares. Conclusion. Mothers’ early childbearing and subsequent SES collectively influence the long-term wellbeing of children. Thus, early childbearing has consequences both within and across generations. View Full-Text
Keywords: intergenerational transmission; early childbearing; socioeconomic status; education intergenerational transmission; early childbearing; socioeconomic status; education
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Högnäs, R.S.; Grotta, A. The Intergenerational Transmission of Early Childbearing: Examining Direct and Indirect Associations in a Swedish Birth Cohort. Behav. Sci. 2019, 9, 54.

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