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Childbearing History, Later Life Health, and Mortality in Germany

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  • Karsten Hank
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    Abstract

    Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we investigated the role of childbearing history in later life health and mortality, paying particular attention to possible differences by sex and region. Higher parity is associated with better self-rated health in Western German mothers and fathers aged 50+, but its relationship with Eastern German women's physical health and survival is negative. Early motherhood is paralleled by poorer physical health in West Germany, whereas late motherhood is associated with lower psychological well-being in East Germany. Moreover, among Western German women, having had a non-marital first birth is weakly correlated with lower physical health. Our findings support the notion of biosocial pathways playing an important role in shaping the fertility-health-nexus. Specifically, the Western German "male breadwinner" model of specialisation appears to have buffered the stresses associated with childrearing, whereas fertility off the "normative" life course track supposedly had adverse effects on women's health in West Germany.

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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.357373.de/diw_sp0305.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 305.

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    Length: 38 p.
    Date of creation: 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp305

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    Keywords: reproductive history; health; mortality; life course; SOEP;

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    Cited by:
    1. Karsten Hank & Michael Wagner, 2013. "Parenthood, Marital Status, and Well-Being in Later Life: Evidence from SHARE," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 639-653, November.
    2. Shor, Eran & Roelfs, David J. & Bugyi, Paul & Schwartz, Joseph E., 2012. "Meta-analysis of marital dissolution and mortality: Reevaluating the intersection of gender and age," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 46-59.
    3. Kruk, Kai Eberhard & Reinhold, Steffen, 2014. "The effect of children on depression in old age," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 1-11.

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