Are couples really a homogeneous cluster in terms of health in Europe?

Jordi Gumà, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Jeroen J. A. Spijker, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED), UAB

Living with a partner protects or even enhances health status of both partners, although its impact differs between men and women. Consequently, to disentangle the reasons of their disadvantaged situation partner statuses other than living with a partner have often been the subject of analysis. On the other hand, couples have been less studied, with the exception of differences between cohabitation and marriage. However, in this study we question whether it is plausible to consider that the marital status that pertains to the majority of the adult and an important part of older population has a homogeneous effect among population. For instance, could differences in the socio-demographic profile of couples modify the health benefits of living with a partner? In this study we therefore propose to go further in the analysis of health status of individuals who live with a partner by controlling for a wide range of socio-demographic factors (age, nationality, educational attainment, occupational status, etc.) of them and their partners. The idea of including information from partners comes from the aim of exploring whether homogamy or heterogeneity in couples’ socio-demographic profiles affects individual’s health. We are also interested in understanding the possible effect of different contexts and different welfare states. To this end, we will analyze four countries: Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and Poland. The selection is based on the fact that these countries represent meaningful examples of different types of welfare states (familistic traditional, traditional, liberal and post-soviet transition). With this aim we will analyze the cross-sectional data of the 2012 EU-SILC survey will be used in the analysis of middle-aged adults (aged 30-59).

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Presented in Session 115: Families, health and well-being