top of page

Impact of Childhood Socioeconomic Position on Self-Rated Health Trajectories of South Korean Adults

Joan P. Yoo and Min Sang Yoo

Department of Social Welfare, Seoul National University

The aim of this study was to examine the impact of childhood socioeconomic position (SEP) on adult health trajectory in South Korea. Seven waves of data from the Korea Welfare Panel Study (KOWEPS, 2007–2012; Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, 2014) were analyzed using latent growth curve analysis. Health condition was measured by self-assessment. The major independent variables were indicators of childhood and adult SEP. The findings suggest that those who perceive their childhood economic condition to be more affluent are more likely to assess their health to be better at the intercept. The insignificant effect of childhood economic condition on the slope and the quadratic term sug- gest that the initial gap remains over time. On the other hand, a disruption in education as a result of poverty was signif- icantly associated with the intercept, slope, and quadratic term. The results suggest that although the large gap at wave 1 somewhat decreases, the gap in health remains because of the significant quadratic term. Childhood SEP has a a last- ing effect on adult health trajectories, after controlling for adult SEP. Significant findings support policies and programs that are targeted to reduce socioeconomic disparities in childhood to enhance equality and public health.


adult health trajectory; childhood socioeconomic position; latent growth curve modeling; self-rated health

Asian Social Work and Policy Review 10 (2016) 142–158

bottom of page