Adolescent Health, Family Background, and Preventive Medical Care
71 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2001 Last revised: 5 Aug 2010
Date Written: October 1979
This paper investigates the health of white adolescents, focusing particularly on the roles of family background and preventive medical care. This emphasis is motivated in part by our desire to study adolescent health in the context of the nature-nurture controversy. The findings indicate first, that family characteristics (especially mother's schooling) do have a significant impact on adolescent health and second, that preventive care is an important vehicle for this impact in the case of dental health hut not in the ease of physical health measures. Similarly, the greater availability of dentists has a positive impact on dental health, but greater availability of pediatricians does not alter the physical health measures. On the basis of these results we predict that government efforts to improve the dental health of adolescents with policies to lower the cost of dental care or increase the availability of dentists are much more likely to be successful than similar policies directed at improving their physical health.
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