Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Eugene C. Jackson

Committee Chair

Eugene C. Jackson

Committee Member 1

J. William Spencer

Committee Member 2

Jacob Hibel

Committee Member 3

Kenneth F. Ferraro


The preponderance of the literature on early life adversity suggests that adversity has negative effects on later life health; however, an emerging body of literature suggests that early life adversity may develop a sense of resilience in individuals. Drawing from life course perspective, the present research seeks to address this by asking how 16 early life adversities affect individuals' health over a 20 year period in adulthood. Further, the present research seeks to understand how individuals' perceptions of their health over the next few years may actually impact their health seven years later. In general, the more adversity a person experienced early in life, the poorer they rated their health in later life. A numbered of controlled effects, including race, adult income, and neuroticism, appear to complicate this relationship; suggesting the relationship between adversity and health is complicated. Further, belief in one's future health, be it positive or negative, was significantly related to a number of subjective health measures seven years later.

Included in

Sociology Commons