Disease Incidence and Family Solidarity: Evidence from the Share and HRS Data

John C. Henretta , University of Florida

This paper examines the implications of recent disease incidence– a heart attack within the last two years – on family solidarity measured as parent-child contact. The analysis uses data from two studies: The Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) in the United States. The unexpected occurrence of a major health condition is likely to produce a reorganization across multiple life dimensions; and contact with children is likely to be affected. The data analysis compares households with and without a recent incident heart attack in the two data sets. Differences in the data sets required a somewhat different analytic approach. There was no significant difference in the association of parent-child contact and heart attack incidence in either survey for men or women. Using these measures, there is no evidence that a new parental health incident is associated with higher levels of family solidarity.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality