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Comparing the benefits of cohabitation and marriage for health in mid-life: Is the relationship similar across countries?

Comparing the benefits of cohabitation and marriage for health in mid-life: Is the relationship similar across countries?
Comparing the benefits of cohabitation and marriage for health in mid-life: Is the relationship similar across countries?
Extensive research has found that marriage provides health benefits to individuals. The rise of cohabitation, however, raises questions about whether simply being in an intimate co-residential partnership conveys the same health benefits as marriage. Here we use OLS regression to compare differences between cohabitation and marriage with respect to self-rated health in mid-life, an understudied part of the lifecourse. We pay particular attention to selection mechanisms arising in childhood to investigate how early life conditions shape later life outcomes. We compare results in five countries with different social, economic, and policy contexts. Results show no differences in self-rated health between cohabiting and married people in Norway, Germany, and for Australian women. In the U.K, and U.S., and for Australian men, however, marriage is significantly associated with better health. Much of this association disappears when accounting for childhood disadvantage and union duration in the U.S., Australia, and for British women, but differences persist for British men. Our study indicates that early life conditions can be an important source of selection for explaining marriage benefits, and that policy makers should focus on reducing disadvantage in childhood rather than legislating incentives to marry in adulthood.
84
ESRC Centre for Population Change
Perelli-Harris, Brienna
9d3d6b25-d710-480b-8677-534d58ebe9ed
STYRC, MARTA E
52dfef8b-7d07-49e8-b84f-43efa9464709
Addo, Fenaba
bb6ddec2-4184-46ea-b641-362cbcb91a57
Hoherz, Stefanie
97bd0db7-6f2f-4897-a8af-a8accd3ba73e
Lappegard, Trude
2d769fe4-e8d8-4e05-beb6-fba14d9de795
Sassler, Sharon
36f4a505-a416-404d-a7dd-ff2751687701
Evans, Ann
42718519-42cb-43ab-a783-095047f66d2c
Mcgowan, Teresa
4524e894-04de-4822-8508-f4b966e12ae2
Perelli-Harris, Brienna
9d3d6b25-d710-480b-8677-534d58ebe9ed
STYRC, MARTA E
52dfef8b-7d07-49e8-b84f-43efa9464709
Addo, Fenaba
bb6ddec2-4184-46ea-b641-362cbcb91a57
Hoherz, Stefanie
97bd0db7-6f2f-4897-a8af-a8accd3ba73e
Lappegard, Trude
2d769fe4-e8d8-4e05-beb6-fba14d9de795
Sassler, Sharon
36f4a505-a416-404d-a7dd-ff2751687701
Evans, Ann
42718519-42cb-43ab-a783-095047f66d2c
Mcgowan, Teresa
4524e894-04de-4822-8508-f4b966e12ae2

Perelli-Harris, Brienna, STYRC, MARTA E, Addo, Fenaba, Hoherz, Stefanie, Lappegard, Trude, Sassler, Sharon and Evans, Ann , Mcgowan, Teresa (ed.) (2017) Comparing the benefits of cohabitation and marriage for health in mid-life: Is the relationship similar across countries? University of Southampton. ESRC Centre for Population Change 38pp. (ESRC Centre for Population Change Working Paper Series, 84, 84) ,

Record type: Monograph (Working Paper)

Abstract

Extensive research has found that marriage provides health benefits to individuals. The rise of cohabitation, however, raises questions about whether simply being in an intimate co-residential partnership conveys the same health benefits as marriage. Here we use OLS regression to compare differences between cohabitation and marriage with respect to self-rated health in mid-life, an understudied part of the lifecourse. We pay particular attention to selection mechanisms arising in childhood to investigate how early life conditions shape later life outcomes. We compare results in five countries with different social, economic, and policy contexts. Results show no differences in self-rated health between cohabiting and married people in Norway, Germany, and for Australian women. In the U.K, and U.S., and for Australian men, however, marriage is significantly associated with better health. Much of this association disappears when accounting for childhood disadvantage and union duration in the U.S., Australia, and for British women, but differences persist for British men. Our study indicates that early life conditions can be an important source of selection for explaining marriage benefits, and that policy makers should focus on reducing disadvantage in childhood rather than legislating incentives to marry in adulthood.

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Published date: 1 June 2017
Organisations: Social Statistics & Demography, Centre for Population Change

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Local EPrints ID: 410974
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/410974
PURE UUID: b34d6da3-ea8c-408b-9be1-b4f1f39436c7

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Date deposited: 12 Jun 2017 16:31
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 13:32

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Contributors

Author: MARTA E STYRC
Author: Fenaba Addo
Author: Stefanie Hoherz
Author: Trude Lappegard
Author: Sharon Sassler
Author: Ann Evans
Editor: Teresa Mcgowan

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