Childlessness, Individual Socioeconomic Resources, and Health: Exploring Variation in 20 Countries

Radoslaw Antczak , SGH Warsaw School of Economics
Nekehia Tamara Quashie, Technical University of Dortmund
Bruno Arpino, University of Florence
Christine A. Mair, University of Maryland

Children are an important source of support for a majority of aging individuals across the globe and therefore, childless older adults are hypothesized to have greater risk of poor health In this paper we explore cross-national variation in associations between children and health. In more details, building on our previous works, we examine how individual-level socioeconomic resources (income, education, wealth) moderate associations between childlessness and a range of mental and physical health indicators (self-rated health, ADL limitations, IADL limitations, chronic conditions, and depression) across 20 countries. Specifically, we analyze harmonized, cross-national data for adults aged 50 and older across 20 high- and middle-income countries (United States (HRS), Europe (SHARE), Mexico (MHAS), and China (CHARLS), available through the Gateway to Global Aging repository. We conduct analysis on the pooled sample, as well as split samples by country to investigate cross-national variation. Preliminary results suggest that associations between childlessness and health outcomes vary by individual socioeconomic resources in some country contexts, but not in others. We discuss these findings in light of the impact of individual-level socioeconomic resources on older adults’ support options and health outcomes cross-nationally, and discuss future options for incorporating nation-level economic data.

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 Presented in Session 79. Health, Wellbeing and Morbidity