Better off living with family or alone? Men’s living arrangements, partnership status and health in Russia

Natalia V. Permyakova, University of Southampton
Jennifer A. Holland, University of Southampton
Brienna Perelli-Harris, University of Southampton

Substantial research has examined the causes of premature male mortality such as heavy drinking in Russia, whereas the possible association of living arrangements and partnership status with men’s health has been missed in Russian research. Russia is a unique case in comparison to the West, with poor men’s health and high proportion of intergenerational households living in a small living space. The aim of this study is to establish whether there is a significant relationship between living arrangements, partnership status and men’s health in contemporary Russia. We investigate whether in Russia: unpartnered men are unhealthier than partnered men; unpartnered men living alone are unhealthier than all other men; among those living in intergenerational households (with adult children/parents/grandparents), unpartnered men are the least healthy group compared to partnered men and men from other types of living arrangements. Nominal models with self-rated health as the outcome were estimated separately for each research question using the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS 2013-2014). Descriptive results reveal the significant bivariate relationship between living arrangements, partnership status and men’s health in Russia at the 95% level. However, the multivariate regression results suggest that compositional differences explain why unpartnered men, particularly those living alone, are the most disadvantaged group in terms of self-rated health. Previous studies have shown that living arrangements can have a direct relationship with health of men, especially by partnership status. Our results contribute to the literature suggesting that the significant relation of men’s demographic, socio-economic, family and residential characteristics to their self-rated health status can determine some of the association between living arrangements by partnership status and men’s health. Given the complexity of living arrangements in Russia, this study is the first step to disentangling the relationship between living arrangements and men’s health. Further research needs to investigate the direction of causality.

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