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Marital dissolution and self-rated health: Age trajectories and birth cohort variations

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  • Liu, Hui

Abstract

A life course perspective is used to explore the effects of divorce and widowhood on self-rated health across age and birth cohorts. Growth curve analysis of a fifteen-year longitudinal survey – Americans’ Changing Lives (ACL), conducted by the Institute for Social Research in the United States between 1986 and 2001 (House, 2002) suggests that although the continuously divorced and widowed exhibit similar health trajectories as the continuously married across age and birth cohorts, there are significant age and birth cohort differences in the effects of transitions to divorce and widowhood on self-rated health. Specifically, the health penalty of the transition to divorce is more apparent for the 1950s than the 1940s birth cohort; and it is stronger at younger than older adulthood especially in the more recent birth cohort. The health penalty of the transition to widowhood is more apparent for the 1910s than the 1920s birth cohort; and it is stronger at older than younger adulthood especially for the earlier birth cohort. These results reflect birth cohort differences in the process of aging and/or in the experience of marital dissolution.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:74:y:2012:i:7:p:1107-1116
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.11.037
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Newton, Nicky J. & Ryan, Lindsay H. & King, Rachel T. & Smith, Jacqui, 2014. "Cohort differences in the marriage–health relationship for midlife women," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 64-72.
    2. Nicolas Sirven, 2012. "On the Socio-Economic Determinants of Frailty: Findings from Panel and Retrospective Data from SHARE," Working Papers DT52, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Dec 2012.
    3. Liu, Hui & Umberson, Debra, 2015. "Gender, stress in childhood and adulthood, and trajectories of change in body mass," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 61-69.
    4. 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.
    5. Schünemann, Johannes & Strulik, Holger & Trimborn, Timo, 2017. "The marriage gap: Optimal aging and death in partnerships," ECON WPS - Vienna University of Technology Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 04/2017, Vienna University of Technology, Institute for Mathematical Methods in Economics, Research Group Economics (ECON).
    6. Jennifer Kohn & Susan Averett, 2014. "Can’t We Just Live Together? New Evidence on the Effect of Relationship Status on Health," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 295-312, September.
    7. Bina Knöpfli & Stéphane Cullati & Delphine S. Courvoisier & Claudine Burton-Jeangros & Pasqualina Perrig-Chiello, 2016. "Marital breakup in later adulthood and self-rated health: a cross-sectional survey in Switzerland," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 61(3), pages 357-366, April.
    8. 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.

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