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David Brady and Bruce Link on the Consequences of Child Poverty

By Maya Prasad |

UCR School of Public Policy professors David Brady and Bruce Link have received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a project in that studies the consequences of child poverty.

The grant funds a unique study that follows kids through their lifetime and is key for understanding the nuances of why older adults are more likely to undergo health issues as a result of childhood poverty. Co-investigators Brady and Link improve upon past research by finding ways to incorporate income measurement and international standards into the study of health. They use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), a nationally representative study that measures childhood economic resources as well as a variety of health outcomes in adulthood.

The project has three specific goals. First, they strive to provide a rigorous assessment to date of the relationship between childhood economic resources and mature adult health outcomes. As a result of their research they hope to find what potential nonlinearities and critical thresholds are held within this relationship, which measures of health are more likely to be influenced by childhood income, which elements of economic resources are most crucial to adult health. They will also assess whether childhood income is the most important factor for adult health. Lastly, they will investigate the role of adult socio-economic attainment and adult health behaviors as the underlying relationship between these two variables.

The goal of this project is to make significant contributions in the study of health, healthy aging, and health disparities. This research can inform more effective targeting of interventions and find ways in which childhood income distribution affects long-term health for adults. It will also help those who are in the medical field and equip them with more reliable ways to combat health problems in mature adulthood.

David Brady is a Professor in the School of Public Policy, and the Director of the Blum Initiative on Global and Regional Poverty at the University of California, Riverside. He is currently studying deep and extreme poverty and the risks of child poverty in the U.S. Bruce Link is a professor of Public Policy and Sociology. He is currently conducting research aimed at  understanding health disparities by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.