Assessing the Effects of Marital Disruption on Disability and Mortality

Barbara Schone, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), HHS
Liliana E. Pezzin, Medical College of Wisconsin

In this paper, we examine how the quality of relations between elderly parents and their adult children affects health, disability and mortality of elderly persons. For elderly persons, especially those not currently married, an important potential source of social support comes from adult children. Adult children may provide care to elderly parents and provide emotional support. However, profound changes in families have arisen due to marital disruption. If marital disruption reduces the quality of parent-child relations, then we might expect that marital disruption might affect health and mortality. Our goal in this analysis is to ascertain whether the direct (i.e., divorce, remarriage) and indirect effects (e.g., family structure) of marital disruption affect the incidence and trajectory of disability and mortality of older persons after controlling for other factors. We rely on data from the first four waves of the Assets and Health Dynamics of the Elderly Survey (AHEAD/HRS) for our analysis.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Aging