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Medical Care Use and Expenditures for Children across Stages of the Family Life Cycle

Peter J. Cunningham
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Feb., 1990), pp. 197-207
DOI: 10.2307/352850
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352850
Page Count: 11
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Medical Care Use and Expenditures for Children across Stages of the Family Life Cycle
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Abstract

Past research has largely assumed that medical care use and expenditures for children are uniform across stages of family development. This study challenges that notion and investigates (a) differences in use of and expenditures for children's health services across stages of the family life cycle, and (b) the extent to which family characteristics affect medical care use and expenditures for children differently, depending on stage of the family life cycle. Data for the study are taken from the 1977 National Medical Care Expenditure Survey (NMCES). Stages of the family life cycle are identified on the basis of the age of the oldest child in the family. Family characteristics include family size, poverty status, number of parents, and mother's characteristics. The results show variation across stages of the family life cycle in terms of both children's mean number of physician visits and out-of-pocket health expenditures. Also, there were differences across certain stages in the effects of family size, single-parent status, mother's age, and mother's use of physician services on the number of children's physician visits. Mother's educational attainment and poverty status were found to have differential effects on out-of-pocket health care expenditures for children.

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