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Explaining rising mortality among men in Eastern Europe


  • Watson, Peggy


Since the mid-1960s, rates of premature mortality have increased among men in all Eastern European countries, giving rise to an East-West health divide. The paper examines the existing data concerning the possible role of levels of smoking, fats consumption and/or environmental factors in explaining this phenomenon. An overview is offered of the key ways in which social experience in Eastern Europe has diverged from that in the West and it is argued that such an overview is pre-requisite for understanding the deteriorating health of men in the East. The importance of the 'incongruity' between aspirations and the means of achieving them is highlighted, as is the centrality of family-based coping strategies. It is argued that the devaluing of the public sphere and valorization of the private domain contribute to the greater health vulnerability of men under in Eastern Europe. The importance of the private sphere is reflected in the fact that the rise of premature male mortality has been overwhelmingly concentrated in the non-married population in the East European countries for which data is currently available.

Suggested Citation

  • Watson, Peggy, 1995. "Explaining rising mortality among men in Eastern Europe," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 923-934, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:41:y:1995:i:7:p:923-934

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    Cited by:

    1. Pietilä, Ilkka & Rytkönen, Marja, 2008. "Coping with stress and by stress: Russian men and women talking about transition, stress and health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 327-338, January.
    2. Markéta Pechholdová & Gabriela Šamanová, 2013. "Mortality by marital status in a rapidly changing society: Evidence from the Czech Republic," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 29(12), pages 307-322.
    3. Witvliet, M.I. & Toch-Marquardt, M. & Eikemo, T.A. & Mackenbach, J.P., 2020. "Improving job strain might reduce inequalities in cardiovascular disease mortality in european men," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 267(C).
    4. Kennedy, Bruce P. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Brainerd, Elizabeth, 1998. "The role of social capital in the Russian mortality crisis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(11), pages 2029-2043, November.
    5. Eric Neumayer, 2004. "HIV/AIDS and its impact on convergence in life expectancy, infant and child survival rates," HEW 0405001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Arjan Gjonca & Chris Wilson & Jane Falkingham, 1999. "Can diet and life style explain regional differences in adult mortality in the Balkans?," MPIDR Working Papers WP-1999-003, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    7. Godoy, Ricardo A. & Reyes-García, Victoria & McDade, Thomas & Huanca, Tomás & Leonard, William R. & Tanner, Susan & Vadez, Vincent, 2006. "Does village inequality in modern income harm the psyche? Anger, fear, sadness, and alcohol consumption in a pre-industrial society," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 359-372, July.
    8. Elizabeth Brainerd & David M. Cutler, 2005. "Autopsy on an Empire: Understanding Mortality in Russia and the Former Soviet Union," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 107-130, Winter.
    9. Aassve, Arnstein & Gjonca, Arjan & Mencarini, Letizia, 2006. "The highest fertility in Europe: for how long? The analysis of fertility change in Albania based on individual data," ISER Working Paper Series 2006-56, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    10. Billingsley, Sunnee, 2012. "Intragenerational mobility and mortality in Russia: Short and longer-term effects," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2326-2336.
    11. Cristina Bradatan, 2009. "Large, But Adaptable? A Successful Population Policy and Its Long Term Effects," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 28(4), pages 389-404, August.
    12. Dan Petrovici & Christopher Ritson, 2006. "Population, health and risk factors in a transitional economy," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 279-300, September.
    13. Arjan Gjonça & Arnstein Aassve & Letizia Mencarini, 2009. "The highest fertility in Europe-For how long? Determinants of fertility change in Albania," Demográfia English Edition, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute, vol. 52(5), pages 76-96.
    14. Junji Kageyama, 2009. "Why do women in former communist countries look unhappy? A demographic perspective," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-032, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    15. Tapani Valkonen & Pekka Martikainen & Jenni Blomgren, 2004. "Increasing excess mortality among non-married elderly people in developed countries," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 2(12), pages 305-330.


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