Are Marital Status Differences in Health Increasing or Decreasing by Cohort? An Examination by Race and Gender for Younger Adults

Hui Liu, University of Texas at Austin

While researchers continue to emphasize the value of marriage for health, we know surprisingly little about how the association between marital status and health has changed across birth cohort. In this paper, I use pooled repeated cross-sectional data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to examine cohort pattern in the relationship between marital status and health between birth cohort 1918 and 1978. Self-rated health is the primary outcome measurement in the present study. Results from ordered logistic regression models show that health differences between the married and other non-married groups including widowed, divorced/separated and never married became widened across cohort from 1918 to 1978. Moreover, divergence trend in health between the married with the other marital groups was more profound among women than men and among non-Hispanic whites than African Americans.

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Presented in Session 174: Husbands, Wives, Marriage, and Health