A Healthy Marriage? Emerging Marital Status Differences in Mortality, Scania, 1815–2016

Ingrid K van Dijk , Lund University
Martin Dribe, Lund University

Marriage is protective of survival and contributes to healthy ageing, whereas both singlehood and widowhood are related to increased mortality and poor health. Few studies have devoted attention to social differences in the effects of widowhood and bereavement on survival as well as to the emergence of marital status differences in mortality over time. In this study, we explore widowhood, bereavement and singlehood penalties for survival over time using an established database for Southern Sweden with long-term follow-up on individual life-courses between 1815 and 2000. We show that for young men the negative effect of singlehood on mortality has increased. Further, marital status differences in mortality exist for both men and women, but are larger for men. For women, we find no effect of widowhood for both young (25-59) and older (60-85) individuals. Socioeconomic status may play a key role in explaining differences in mortality by marital status.

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 Presented in Session 87. Civil Status and Health