Multiple Demands or Multiple Opportunities? Work, Family, and Spousal Health in the U.S.

Patrick M. Krueger, University of Texas at Houston
Elizabeth Wildsmith, University of Pennsylvania
Xuemin Gu, University of Texas at Houston

Men and women who have multiple roles (e.g. spouse, employee, parent) generally have better health than those who have fewer roles. But prior research has not examined how living in a household that makes many care-taking demands and having a spouse who works long hours impacts health among husbands and wives. This is an important oversight given the growing labor force participation among women in recent decades and evidence that spousal factors can influence personal health. We examine the relationship between spousal employment and households that have high demands for care-work, and personal risks of death among men and women, with data from the 1990-1994 Family Resources Supplements to the National Health Interview Survey, linked to the National Death Index through 1997. Our results will illuminate whether, and in what circumstances, men and women benefit from having spouses who have multiple roles (and multiple demands on their time).

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 4: Family and Work