IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/socmed/v253y2020ics0277953620301842.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Health in widowhood: The roles of social capital and economic resources

Author

Listed:
  • Kung, Claryn S.J.

Abstract

A sizeable literature has demonstrated strong negative associations between widowhood and health, but longitudinal evidence on moderating factors has been mixed. This study assesses the roles of pre-existing social capital and wealth in moderating changes in health in the event of spousal death. Samples of widowed individuals (n = 796) and matched married controls (n = 8233) are employed from 17 consecutive waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (2001–2017). Individual-level fixed-effects models are used to estimate changes in physical and mental health before and after spousal death, in reference to one's own health more than two years before widowhood. Results show a temporary physical health improvement in the year of spousal death, and a decline in mental health beginning up to two years before spousal death, lasting up to two years after spousal death. Using social capital—from children, club membership or volunteering status, and social connections—observed earlier than two years before spousal death, this study finds that widowed individuals with higher social capital show poorer mental health than those with less capital. This negative moderating role is more marked among widowed males than females. In contrast, greater wealth, particularly from non-financial assets, is associated with earlier psychological adjustment among males. For females, mental health in widowhood shows little difference by wealth. These findings suggest that social capital may not be sufficient to protect deteriorations in mental health among widowed individuals, and that the pursuit of alternative avenues may be especially important among the less wealthy.

Suggested Citation

  • Kung, Claryn S.J., 2020. "Health in widowhood: The roles of social capital and economic resources," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 253(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:253:y:2020:i:c:s0277953620301842
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.112965
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953620301842
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lei Jin & Nicholas Chrisatakis, 2009. "Investigating the mechanism of marital mortality reduction: The transition to widowhood and quality of health care," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 46(3), pages 605-625, August.
    2. Schwandt, Hannes, 2014. "Wealth shocks and health outcomes: evidence from stock market fluctuations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60352, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lindeboom, Maarten & Portrait, France, 2011. "Conjugal bereavement effects on health and mortality at advanced ages," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 774-794, July.
    4. Michaud, Pierre-Carl & van Soest, Arthur, 2008. "Health and wealth of elderly couples: Causality tests using dynamic panel data models," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1312-1325, September.
    5. Gerard J. Berg & Petter Lundborg & Johan Vikström, 2017. "The Economics of Grief," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 1794-1832, September.
    6. Bettina Siflinger, 2017. "The Effect of Widowhood on Mental Health ‐ an Analysis of Anticipation Patterns Surrounding the Death of a Spouse," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(12), pages 1505-1523, December.
    7. Iacus, Stefano & King, Gary & Porro, Giuseppe, 2009. "cem: Software for Coarsened Exact Matching," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 30(i09).
    8. Gerard J. Berg & Petter Lundborg & Johan Vikström, 2017. "The Economics of Grief," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 1794-1832, September.
    9. Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2002. "An econometric analysis of the mental‐health effects of major events in the life of older individuals," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 505-520, September.
    10. Paul Frijters & David W. Johnston & Michael A. Shields, 2011. "Life Satisfaction Dynamics with Quarterly Life Event Data," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113(1), pages 190-211, March.
    11. Hannes Schwandt, 2018. "Wealth Shocks and Health Outcomes: Evidence from Stock Market Fluctuations," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 349-377, October.
    12. Rodgers, Justin & Valuev, Anna V. & Hswen, Yulin & Subramanian, S.V., 2019. "Social capital and physical health: An updated review of the literature for 2007–2018," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 236(C), pages 1-1.
    13. Matthew Blackwell & Stefano Iacus & Gary King & Giuseppe Porro, 2009. "cem: Coarsened exact matching in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 9(4), pages 524-546, December.
    14. Jonathan Vespa, 2012. "Union Formation in Later Life: Economic Determinants of Cohabitation and Remarriage Among Older Adults," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(3), pages 1103-1125, August.
    15. Scheffler, Richard M. & Brown, Timothy T., 2008. "Social capital, economics, and health: new evidence," Health Economics, Policy and Law, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(4), pages 321-331, October.
    16. Eran Shor & David Roelfs & Misty Curreli & Lynn Clemow & Matthew Burg & Joseph Schwartz, 2012. "Widowhood and Mortality: A Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(2), pages 575-606, May.
    17. Gary R. Lee & Alfred DeMaris & Stefoni Bavin & Rachel Sullivan, 2001. "Gender Differences in the Depressive Effect of Widowhood in Later Life," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 56(1), pages 56-61.
    18. Ken Smith & Norman Waitzman, 1994. "Double jeopardy: Interaction effects of marital and poverty status on the risk of mortality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 31(3), pages 487-507, August.
    19. Gyeong-Suk Jeon & Soong-Nang Jang & Dong-Sik Kim & Sung-Il Cho, 2013. "Widowhood and Depressive Symptoms Among Korean Elders: The Role of Social Ties," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 68(6), pages 963-973.
    20. Tseng, Fu-Min & Petrie, Dennis & Leon-Gonzalez, Roberto, 2017. "The impact of spousal bereavement on subjective wellbeing: Evidence from the Taiwanese elderly population," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 1-12.
    21. Kristi Williams, 2004. "The Transition to Widowhood and the Social Regulation of Health: Consequences for Health and Health Risk Behavior," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 59(6), pages 343-349.
    22. J Robin Moon & Naoki Kondo & M Maria Glymour & S V Subramanian, 2011. "Widowhood and Mortality: A Meta-Analysis," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 6(8), pages 1-9, August.
    23. Fu-Min Tseng & Dennis Petrie & Roberto Leon-Gonzalez, 2014. "The impact of spousal bereavement on self-assessed health status: evidence from the Taiwanese elderly population," GRIPS Discussion Papers 14-13, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
    24. Simeonova, Emilia, 2013. "Marriage, bereavement and mortality: The role of health care utilization," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 33-50.
    25. Manor, Orly & Eisenbach, Zvi, 2003. "Mortality after spousal loss: are there socio-demographic differences?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 405-413, January.
    26. Frijters, Paul & Haisken-DeNew, John P. & Shields, Michael A., 2005. "The causal effect of income on health: Evidence from German reunification," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 997-1017, September.
    27. Iacus, Stefano M. & King, Gary & Porro, Giuseppe, 2012. "Causal Inference without Balance Checking: Coarsened Exact Matching," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-24, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Tseng, Fu-Min & Petrie, Dennis & Leon-Gonzalez, Roberto, 2017. "The impact of spousal bereavement on subjective wellbeing: Evidence from the Taiwanese elderly population," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 1-12.
    2. Julien Albertini & Anthony Terriau, 2019. "Wealth and health in South Africa," Working Papers halshs-02073800, HAL.
    3. Frijters, Paul & Krekel, Christian & Ulker, Aydogan, 2020. "Machiavelli versus concave utility functions: should bads be spread out or concentrated?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108421, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Fu‐Min Tseng & Dennis Petrie & Shaolin Wang & Colin Macduff & Audrey I. Stephen, 2018. "The impact of spousal bereavement on hospitalisations: Evidence from the Scottish Longitudinal Study," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2), pages 120-138, February.
    5. Sergio Afcha & Jose García-Quevedo, 2016. "The impact of R&D subsidies on R&D employment composition," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(6), pages 955-975.
    6. Heejung Byun & Joseph Raffiee & Martin Ganco, 2019. "Discontinuities in the Value of Relational Capital: The Effects on Employee Entrepreneurship and Mobility," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(6), pages 1368-1393, November.
    7. Sara Pavone & Elena Ragazzi & Lisa Sella, 2015. "Sostenere le imprese agro-industriali in Piemonte: un’analisi controfattuale," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(3 Suppl.), pages 129-143.
    8. Everding, Jakob & Marcus, Jan, 2020. "The effect of unemployment on the smoking behavior of couples," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 154-170.
    9. Espinosa, Javier & Evans, William N., 2008. "Heightened mortality after the death of a spouse: Marriage protection or marriage selection?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1326-1342, September.
    10. Leduc, Elisabeth & Tojerow, Ilan, 2020. "Subsidizing Domestic Services as a Tool to Fight Unemployment: Effectiveness and Hidden Costs," IZA Discussion Papers 13544, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Misty L. Heggeness & Donna K. Ginther & Maria I. Larenas & Frances D. Carter-Johnson, 2018. "The Impact of Postdoctoral Fellowships on a Future Independent Career in Federally Funded Biomedical Research," NBER Working Papers 24508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Elena Vidal & Will Mitchell, 2015. "Adding by Subtracting: The Relationship Between Performance Feedback and Resource Reconfiguration Through Divestitures," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(4), pages 1101-1118, August.
    13. Niron Hashai & Sarit Markovich, 2017. "Market Entry by High Technology Startups: The Effect of Competition Level and Startup Innovativeness," Strategy Science, INFORMS, vol. 2(3), pages 141-160, September.
    14. Weber, Olaf & Ahmad, Adnan, 2014. "Empowerment Through Microfinance: The Relation Between Loan Cycle and Level of Empowerment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 75-87.
    15. Oscar Erixson, 2017. "Health responses to a wealth shock: evidence from a Swedish tax reform," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(4), pages 1281-1336, October.
    16. Ethan J. Raker, 2020. "Natural Hazards, Disasters, and Demographic Change: The Case of Severe Tornadoes in the United States, 1980–2010," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(2), pages 653-674, April.
    17. Dane P. Blevins & Steve Sauerwald & Jenny M. Hoobler & Christopher J. Robertson, 2019. "Gender Differences in Pay Levels: An Examination of the Compensation of University Presidents," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(3), pages 600-616, May.
    18. Gustavsson Tingvall, Patrik & Videnord, Josefin, 2017. "Regional Effects of Publicly Sponsored R&D Grants on SME Performance," Ratio Working Papers 289, The Ratio Institute.
    19. Corral, Leonardo & Henderson, Heath & Miranda, Juan José, 2016. "Evidence from a Natural Experiment on the Development Impact of Windfall Gains: The Camisea Fund in Peru," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 7520, Inter-American Development Bank.
    20. Liebe, Ulf & Glenk, Klaus & Oehlmann, Malte & Meyerhoff, Jürgen, 2015. "Does the use of mobile devices (tablets and smartphones) affect survey quality and choice behaviour in web surveys?," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 17-31.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:253:y:2020:i:c:s0277953620301842. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Haili He). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.