Breaking the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage: The three generation approach

Tina L. Cheng, Sara B. Johnson, Elizabeth Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Health disparities in the United States related to socioeconomic status are persistent and pervasive. This review highlights how social disadvantage, particularly low socioeconomic status and the health burden it brings, is passed from 1 generation to the next. First, we review current frameworks for understanding the intergenerational transmission of health disparities and provide 4 illustrative examples relevant to child health, development, and well-being. Second, the leading strategy to break the cycle of poverty in young families in the United States, the 2-generation approach, is reviewed. Finally, we propose a new 3-generation approach that must combine with the 2-generation approach to interrupt the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage and eliminate health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20152467
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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