Union Formation and Dissolution among Disabled Men in the Stockholm Birth Cohort Multigenerational Study

Alessandra Grotta , Karolinska Institutet
Robin Högnäs, Stockholm University

Decades of research has underscored the patterns of family formation and dissolution across different groups and associated implications for long-term health. Most of these studies have largely overlooked family formation and dissolution patterns among individuals with disabilities. The aim of this project is to extend the literature by exploring patterns of family formation and dissolution among men who had a disability by age 18 using data from the 1953 Stockholm Birth Cohort Study Multigenerational Study. We draw on data from the National Conscript Board, where we identified disabled men as those who reported a medical diagnosis that led to exemption from military service. These data were combined with data from Census and LISA databases, which allowed us to reconstruct the marital histories of cohort members up until 2015. Cox regression models were used to study the association between disability and family formation/dissolution. Out of 6,716 men recorded in the conscription register, 444 were identified as having a disability. The HR for getting married was 0.62 (95% CI 0.52-0.73), showing a 48% decrease of union formations among disabled men compared to non-disabled men. The HR for separation was 1.33 (95% CI 1.05-1.67), showing a 33% increase of union dissolutions.. Our preliminary findings suggest that disability is associated with a reduction in marriage and with a decrease in the stability of marital unions. Potential mechanisms related to poverty and educational achievement should also be considered and investigated to understand what, if any, role these factors play among the later generations.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course