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

  • Liu, Hui
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    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.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 74 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 7 ()
    Pages: 1107-1116

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:74:y:2012:i:7:p:1107-1116
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    1. Pampel, Fred C., 2003. "Age and education patterns of smoking among women in high-income nations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 1505-1514, October.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, October.
    3. Scott Lynch, 2003. "Cohort and life-course patterns in the relationship between education and health: A hierarchical approach," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 309-331, May.
    4. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    5. Mineau, Geraldine P. & Smith, Ken R. & Bean, Lee L., 2002. "Historical trends of survival among widows and widowers," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 245-254, January.
    6. 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.
    7. Deborah Carr & James S. House & Camille Wortman & Randolph Nesse & Ronald C. Kessler, 2001. "Psychological Adjustment to Sudden and Anticipated Spousal Loss Among Older Widowed Persons," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 56(4), pages S237-S248.
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