Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2017

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Good health is positively associated with education outcomes, and likewise higher education-related achievement is positively associated with good health. Similarly, social disadvantage follows a cyclical pattern. It is cumulative; both accruing over the life course and across generations. Moreover, this relationship disproportionately impacts our most vulnerable populations, including both minorities and children living in or near poverty. For example, since the 1990s asthma, the most common chronic illness among youth, has seen the greatest increases in urban environments, and among racial and ethnic minorities in or near poverty. Still, consideration of the interdependence between health, place, and education remains underdeveloped in the literature. Place provides an opportunity to examine the ways in which health and education interact to limit or encourage maximal growth for children, shaping their development and opportunity. This dissertation both affirms prior research examining these relationships and further deepens our understanding of the ways in which health and place interact to impact outcomes for young children. The introductory chapter provides the theoretical framework and a brief review of the literature guiding the studies included in the dissertation. The first study utilizes a large national dataset to examine chronic and recurrent early childhood health conditions and their impact on reading and math skills of children at kindergarten entry. The final two studies utilize social epidemiological methods which allow for the examination of population level, social-structural factors and health conditions and their impact on developmental and educational outcomes for youth at both regional and local levels. Central to all three studies is the element of geography or place. A final chapter considers the findings of the dissertation as a whole, offering lessons learned and directions for future research.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

William F. Tate

Committee Members

Rowhea Elmesky, Mark C. Hogrebe, Odis Johnson, Jason Q. Purnell,


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K78P5XXS