Sunday, January 03, 2010

Some unpleasant anthropometric arithmetic

Patterns in- and correlates of- height is something that has featured in this blog regularly. Seeing this is the New Year I thought I would start with a good new story.
The graph below is a kernel regression of "malaise" a measure of low mood (due to Rutter I think) & height, measured at age 23. So great news if you are tall...
Patterns such as this have been noticed before (refs below) but knowing how to interpret it is trickier. Is it because of stigma or prejudice - remember the (in)famous Randy Newman song? Or is it a marker for bad early life conditions à la Barker perhaps? I don't know, off hand, how one might distinguish between these two hypotheses.

Martel L.F. & H.B. Biller (1987) Stature and Stigma Lexington: Lexington Press
Stack S. & I. Wasserman (1996) Height and risk of suicide Journal of Social Psychology


Alan Fernihough said...

It would be interesting to do a cross-ethnic and country comparison of this lines slope. That might be a useful starting point to rule out environmental factors associated with height and well-being.

Liam Delaney said...

first impression is that you are just picking up gender. women are smaller and tend to score higher on malaise.

Kevin Denny said...

Alan: with SHARE I could do something like that using EUROD. I think I have looked at this with that data years ago but the graph here is NCDS.

Liam: No its not a boy/girl thing, I can assure you of that. The pattern may differ slightly between the sexes and it might be a bit flatter controlling for sex.

I might do another post addressing these comments.

Liam Delaney said...

this paper was published in Economics and Human Biology just before christmas