Objectives. I examined associations between evacuation of Finnish children to temporary foster care in Sweden during World War II and all-cause mortality between ages 38 and 78 years.
Methods. I used a Cox proportional hazards model to estimate mortality risk according to whether the individual was evacuated during childhood or not. I used within-sibling analysis to control for all unobserved socioeconomic and genetic characteristics shared among siblings. Individual-level data for Finnish cohorts born in 1933 to 1944 were derived from wartime government records, Finnish census data from 1950 and 1970, and death cause registry from 1971 to 2011.
Results. I found no statistically significant association between evacuation and all-cause mortality when all exposed individuals were included in the analysis. However, subgroup analysis showed that men evacuated before age 4 years had a 1.31 higher mortality risk (95% confidence interval = 1.01, 1.69) than their nonevacuated counterparts.
Conclusions. In the aggregate, individuals do not have elevated mortality risk as a consequence of foster care during early childhood owing to the onset of sudden external shocks (e.g., wars).
2014. Vol. 104, no 9, 1759-1765 p.