UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The intergenerational production of health in South Korea Veenstra, Gerry; Jeong, B. G


Informed by Bourdieu and Passeron’s theory of reproduction, we investigated relationships between the cultural and economic capitals of South Korean parents and the capitals and self-rated health of their adult children in cross-sectional survey data from the 2006 Korea Welfare Panel Study. Parental education and childhood economic circumstances manifested independent associations with the self-rated health of the adult respondents. Much of the connection between parental capitals and respondent self-rated health was explained by respondent education. Educational attainment and household income but not receipt of monetary inheritance from their parents were significantly associated with the self-rated health of the respondents. Lastly, parental educational attainment was associated with the self-rated health of the women but not the men over and above the capitals held by the respondents themselves. Our study illuminates the importance of the intergenerational transmission of multiple forms of capital in the production of good health for South Korean adults. In particular, we propose that wealthy and well-educated South Korean parents employ their capitals to develop math and linguistics skills in their children that facilitate good performance in the standardised university entrance exams, success in the labour and/or marriage markets and, ultimately, good self-rated health for their adult children.

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