Marriage Breakdown and Mortality Patterns. Evidence from the Turin Longitudinal Study

Elisa Cisotto, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
Elisa Ferracin , Regional Epidemiology Unit, ASL TO3 Piedmont Region, Grugliasco, IT
Letizia Mencarini, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy
Virginia Zarulli, University of Southern Denmark - Interdisciplinary Center on Population Dynamics

In light of the dynamic changes to the Italian families, where more and more marital unions break down into separation and divorce, the current marital status baseline information has become less informative about marital exposure and associated risks of mortality. This study, based on 128.832 deaths in Turin (IT) between 1991 to 2018, aims to highlight the role of couple trajectories in understanding how union dissolution could affect individuals’ death risks over time. We use data from the Turin Longitudinal Study (TLS) to analyzes the difference in age at death from all cause-mortality of married individuals compared to individuals who experienced a martial dissolution. Proportional hazards regression models are estimated as a function of recent marital transitions and other socio-demographic variables. First results show a survival time reduction for those who separated during the follow-up period compared to individuals who remain married with the same spouse. Gender differences emerge in the consequences of divorce, so that women are more vulnerable to the mortality negative outcomes of a marital disruption. By controlling for socioeconomic status, our results confirm the protective effect of being high educated and employed for both sexes. However, various aspects of the separation process, such as selection and protection processes preceding and following marriage dissolution need to be fully explored as a potential source of bias in the general results. Hence, as a next stage we plan to add additional confounding and moderating variable, to introduce a set of interaction terms and information of cause of death.

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 Presented in Session 16. Family Dynamics and Survival Patterns