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A longitudinal study of health selection in marital transitions


  • Joung, Inez M. A.
  • van de Mheen, H. Dike
  • Stronks, Karien
  • van Poppel, Frans W. A.
  • Mackenbach, Johan P.


We examined whether differences in health were associated with different probabilities of marital transitions in a longitudinal study, using Cox proportional hazard analysis. Data on approximately 10,000 Dutch persons of the GLOBE study, aged 15-74 years, were used for this purpose. The study started in 1991 and study subjects have been followed for 4.5 years. Of the four marital transitions studied (marriage among never married and divorced persons, and divorce and bereavement among married persons), only divorce among married persons was associated with health status: married persons who reported four or more subjective health complaints or two or more chronic conditions were, respectively, 1.5 and two times more likely to become divorced during follow-up than persons without these health problems. Since hardly any other studies have examined the role of health selection in marital transition with longitudinal data, more research is required before firm conclusions can be drawn. It can be concluded, however, that the frequently made assumption that health selection contributes only little to the explanation of health differences between marital status groups, seems, at least for the divorced, not justified.

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  • Joung, Inez M. A. & van de Mheen, H. Dike & Stronks, Karien & van Poppel, Frans W. A. & Mackenbach, Johan P., 1998. "A longitudinal study of health selection in marital transitions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 425-435, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:46:y:1998:i:3:p:425-435

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hilke Brockmann, 2012. "Ungesunde Verhältnisse?: Eine Längsschnittanalyse zur Gesundheit von Kindern in zusammen- und getrenntlebenden Familien," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 503, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Oshio, Takashi & Nozaki, Kayo & Kobayashi, Miki, 2011. "Division of Household Labor and Marital Satisfaction in China, Japan, and Korea," PIE/CIS Discussion Paper 502, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    3. repec:spr:eurpop:v:34:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10680-017-9423-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Hammarström, Anne & Janlert, Urban, 2005. "Health selection in a 14-year follow-up study--A question of gendered discrimination?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(10), pages 2221-2232, November.
    5. Jaffe, Dena H. & Eisenbach, Zvi & Neumark, Yehuda D. & Manor, Orly, 2006. "Effects of husbands' and wives' education on each other's mortality," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(8), pages 2014-2023, April.
    6. Molloy, Gerard John & Stamatakis, Emmanuel & Randall, Gemma & Hamer, Mark, 2009. "Marital status, gender and cardiovascular mortality: Behavioural, psychological distress and metabolic explanations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 223-228, July.
    7. Lorant, V. & Kunst, Anton E. & Huisman, Martijn & Bopp, Matthias & Mackenbach, Johan, 2005. "A European comparative study of marital status and socio-economic inequalities in suicide," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(11), pages 2431-2441, June.
    8. Liu, Hui, 2012. "Marital dissolution and self-rated health: Age trajectories and birth cohort variations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(7), pages 1107-1116.
    9. Artazcoz, Lucia & Cortès, Imma & Borrell, Carme & Escribà-Agüir, Vicenta & Cascant, Lorena, 2011. "Social inequalities in the association between partner/marital status and health among workers in Spain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(4), pages 600-607, February.
    10. Hui Liu & Zhenmei Zhang, 2013. "Disability Trends by Marital Status Among Older Americans, 1997–2010: An Examination by Gender and Race," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 32(1), pages 103-127, February.
    11. Strohschein, Lisa & McDonough, Peggy & Monette, Georges & Shao, Qing, 2005. "Marital transitions and mental health: Are there gender differences in the short-term effects of marital status change?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(11), pages 2293-2303, December.
    12. Takashi Oshio & Kayo Nozaki & Miki Kobayashi, 2013. "Division of Household Labor and Marital Satisfaction in China, Japan, and Korea," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 211-223, June.
    13. Kenneth Couch & Christopher Tamborini & Gayle Reznik, 2015. "The Long-Term Health Implications of Marital Disruption: Divorce, Work Limits, and Social Security Disability Benefits Among Men," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(5), pages 1487-1512, October.
    14. Roos, Eva & Burström, Bo & Saastamoinen, Peppiina & Lahelma, Eero, 2005. "A comparative study of the patterning of women's health by family status and employment status in Finland and Sweden," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(11), pages 2443-2451, June.
    15. Manzoli, Lamberto & Villari, Paolo & M Pirone, Giovanni & Boccia, Antonio, 2007. "Marital status and mortality in the elderly: A systematic review and meta-analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 77-94, January.
    16. Katalin Kovács, 2005. "Proportionate or concentrated burdens? Health of widowed, divorced and nevermarried in Hungary," Demográfia English Edition, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute, vol. 49(5), pages 104-122.
    17. Astri Syse & Øystein Kravdal, 2007. "Does cancer affect the divorce rate?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 16(15), pages 469-492, June.


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