Psychological Human Capital and Mortality across the Life Course: Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics

a MiCDA Pilot Project Description

Investigators: Amelia Karraker, Robert F. Schoeni

Funding: Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging, 2013-2014

Growing evidence suggests connections between psychological human capital and health. Little work, however, has examined the impact of psychological human capital on health into older ages, though the health benefits of psychological human capital may accrue over time. Further, the pathways through which psychological human capital shapes health and mortality have not been extensively empirically examined. This is surprising given that psychological human capital is an important predictor of wages, employment, risky behaviors, and family formation, and these factors are also all strongly linked to health. We address these gaps by using almost 40 years of data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to examine the relationship between psychological human capital (conscientiousness, personal efficacy, hostility) measured in 1972 and subsequent mortality. In addition, we assess the role of socioeconomic status attainment, marital status, and health behaviors as mechanisms in the psychological human capital-mortality relationship.

Research Signature Theme:

Health and well-being in later life: Life Course Determinants