Cumulative disadvantage: The role of childhood health and marital quality in the relationship between marriage and later life health

TitleCumulative disadvantage: The role of childhood health and marital quality in the relationship between marriage and later life health
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsZugarek, GRE
AdvisorBrown, S
Academic DepartmentSociology
DegreeM.A.
Date Published2015
UniversityBowling Green State University
KeywordsAdult children, Demographics, Health Conditions and Status
Abstract

Married older adults tend to fare better in terms of health and mortality than those who are not married, and this association is especially pronounced for those with high marital quality. At the same time, childhood health is related to later life health outcomes. The aim of this study is to determine how much of the relationship between marriage, marital quality, and later life health can be explained by the long arm of childhood health. From the cumulative disadvantage theory, childhood health is linked to marriage and marital quality as well as later life health. Using the 2008-2010 Health and Retirement Study (N=13,620), I examine whether marital status and quality are related to self-rated health and cardiovascular disease net of childhood health. Marital quality is associated with later life health, net of childhood health and other factors. High marital quality is associated with a decrease in risk of poor self-rated health and low-quality marriage is related to an increased risk of cardiovascular conditions compared to the unmarried. Poor childhood health is associated with an increased health risk, but the relationship between marriage and health remains robust after controlling for childhood factors, indicating it is not spurious. Finally, there is no significant difference in how marital status and quality function for men and women.

Endnote Keywords

accumulative disadvantage

Short TitleCumulative disadvantage: The role of childhood health and marital quality in the relationship between marriage and later life health
Citation Key6189