Healthy aging in context: Family, welfare state and the life course

Maja Djundeva

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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In her study Maja Djundeva aimed to investigate how marital histories, the timing of having children, and the relationships with adult children are related to the mental and physical health of people older than 50 in 13 Europe countries.

Marital histories consist of all the marital and non-marital cohabiting relationships from early adolescence until old age, together with any interruptions such as divorce or widowhood. Djundeva found that people who were sick as children are less likely to get married and more likely to remain without a partner over the life course. Next, the timing when people enter a marriage or a cohabiting union for the first time, as well as the timing of the birth of their first child have long lasting consequences on the physical health many observed decades later. Results showed that people who were married early (before the age of 20) or late (after 30) and those who had many marriages had worse health in old age measured with biomarkers, such as C-reactive protein and total cholesterol. For women, in specific, becoming a parent and the timing when one becomes a parent is important for health as it is closely related to pursuing and completing higher education. Women with higher education rated their health better compared with less educated women. Lastly, older parents were found to have better mental health when they receive instrumental support from children, such as help around the household, only in cases when they need it.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
  • Mills, Melinda, Supervisor
  • Wittek, Rafael, Supervisor
Award date27-Oct-2016
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-90-367-9152-6
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-9154-0
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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