Early Origins of Later Life Psychological Well-Being? A Novel Application of Causal Mediation Analysis to Life Course Research.

Research paper by Tirth R TR Bhatta, Jeffrey M JM Albert, Eva E Kahana, Nirmala N Lekhak

Indexed on: 23 Mar '17Published on: 23 Mar '17Published in: The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences


This study employs a novel approach to mediation analysis to clarify the influence of interrelated indicators of life course socioeconomic status (SES) on later life psychological well-being in India. Contrary to traditional approaches (i.e., use of product and difference-in-coefficients), we recognize the role of confounders in the estimation of total, direct, and indirect effects of parental education on respondents' psychological well-being.Drawing from the first wave (2007-2010) of the Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE) and adopting a counterfactual approach, we estimate both natural direct and indirect effects of parental education through individual educational attainment (secondarily, through household assets as an additional mediator) on respondents' life-satisfaction and quality of life (QOL).Findings document a statistically not significant positive total effect of parental education on life satisfaction and QOL. While lower for women, significant indirect effects suggest that the positive influence of parental education operates primarily through the individual's education. Notably, we found negative direct effect of parental education on psychological well-being outcomes.Contrary to prior literature, we found no positive direct influence of parental education on later life psychological well-being, but established its influence through socioeconomic positioning over the life course.