The NSLY79 Cohort Turns Forty: Predictors of Continuity and Change

Elizabeth Menaghan, Ohio State University

Life course approaches emphasize both continuity and change over time. As the late baby boom respondents of the NLSY79 turn forty, over twenty years of data permit a more comprehensive look at how cognitive and psychosocial resources present in late adolescence and early adulthood, as well as characteristics of families of origin, combine with family experiences in adulthood to shape emotional well-being in maturity. I focus on the subset of approximately 5,500 NLSY respondents who had turned forty by 2002 and completed the 40-and-older module in 1998, 2000, or 2002. I examine linkages among early cognitive skills, mastery, and self-esteem reported in 1979 and 1980, subsequent sense of mastery and depressive symptoms assessed in 1992, and depressive symptoms around 2000, as well as work and family patterns by the outcome year. I also evaluate how these linkages vary by race-ethnicity and gender.

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Presented in Session 71: Family and Health Over the Life Course