The mechanisms behind social differences in mortality rates have been debated. The authors examined the extent to which shared family background and health in early life could explain the association between educational status and all-cause mortality rates using a sibling design. The study was register-based and included all individuals born in Denmark between 1950 and 1979 who had at least 1 full sibling born in the same time period (n 1,381,436). All individuals were followed from 28 years of age until death, emigration, or December 2009. The authors used Cox regression analyses to estimate hazard ratios for mortality according to educational level. Conventional cohort and intersibling analyses were carried out and conducted separately for deaths occurring before and after the age of 45 years, respectively. The cohort analyses showed an inverse association between educational status and all-cause mortality that was strongest for males, increased with younger birth cohorts, and tended to be strongest in the analyses of death before 45 years of age. The associations were attenuated slightly in the intersibling analyses and after adjustment for serious health conditions in early life. Hence, health selection and confounding by factors shared by siblings explained only a minor part of the association between educational level and all-cause mortality.
|Tidsskrift||American Journal of Epidemiology|
|Status||Udgivet - 15 okt. 2012|