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  1. The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose

    The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose

  2. Multiple Chronic Conditions, Spouses Depressive Symptoms, and Gender within Marriage

    Multiple chronic conditions (i.e., multimorbidity) increase a person’s depressive symptoms more than having one chronic condition. Little is known regarding whether multimorbidity similarly increases the depressive symptoms of one’s spouse and whether this depends on type of condition, gender, or both spouses’ health status. Analysis of multiple waves of the Health and Retirement Study reveals husband’s number of chronic conditions is positively related to wife’s depressive symptoms when both spouses are chronically ill.

  3. Marital Histories and Heavy Alcohol Use among Older Adults

    We develop a gendered marital biography approach—which emphasizes the accumulating gendered experiences of singlehood, marriage, marital dissolution, and remarriage—to examine the relationship between marital statuses and transitions and heavy alcohol use. We test this approach using individual-level (n = 10,457) and couple-level (n = 2,170) longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study, and individual-level (n = 46) and couple-level (n = 42) in-depth interview data.

  4. First-birth Timing, Marital History, and Womens Health at Midlife

    Despite evidence that first-birth timing influences women’s health, the role of marital status in shaping this association has received scant attention. Using multivariate propensity score matching, we analyze data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 to estimate the effect of having a first birth in adolescence (prior to age 20), young adulthood (ages 20–24), or later ages (ages 25–35) on women’s midlife self-assessed health.

  5. Education, Health, and the Default American Lifestyle

    Education has a large and increasing impact on health in America. This paper examines one reason why. Education gives individuals the ability to override the default American lifestyle. The default lifestyle has three elements: displacing human energy with mechanical energy, displacing household food production with industrial food production, and displacing health maintenance with medical dependency. Too little physical activity and too much food produce imperceptibly accumulating pathologies.

  6. The Contribution of Smoking to Educational Gradients in U.S. Life Expectancy

    Researchers have documented widening educational gradients in mortality in the United States since the 1970s. While smoking has been proposed as a key explanation for this trend, no prior study has quantified the contribution of smoking to increasing education gaps in longevity.

  7. Educational Inequalities in Health Behaviors at Midlife: Is There a Role for Early-life Cognition?

    Education is a fundamental cause of social inequalities in health because it influences the distribution of resources, including money, knowledge, power, prestige, and beneficial social connections, that can be used in situ to influence health. Recent studies have highlighted early-life cognition as commonly indicating the propensity for educational attainment and determining health and age of mortality. Health behaviors provide a plausible mechanism linking both education and cognition to later-life health and mortality.

  8. Marital Status, Relationship Distress, and Self-rated Health: What Role for "Sleep Problems"?

    This paper analyzes data from a nationally representative survey of adults in the United Kingdom (Understanding Society, N = 37,253) to explore the marital status/health nexus (using categories that include a measure of relationship distress) and to assess the role that sleep problems play as a potential mediator. Findings indicate how it is not just the "form" marital status takes but also the absence or presence of relationship distress that is essential to self-rated health.

  9. Marriage, Relationship Quality, and Sleep among U.S. Older Adults

    Sleep is a restorative behavior essential for health. Poor sleep has been linked to adverse health outcomes among older adults; however, we know little about the social processes that affect sleep. Using innovative actigraphy data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (N = 727), we considered the role of marriage, positive marital relationship support, and negative marital relationship strain on older adults’ (ages 62–90) self-reported and actigraph-measured sleep characteristics.

  10. In Sickness and in Health? Physical Illness as a Risk Factor for Marital Dissolution in Later Life

    The health consequences of marital dissolution are well known, but little work has examined the impact of health on the risk of marital dissolution. We use a sample of 2,701 marriages from the Health and Retirement Study to examine the role of serious physical illness onset in subsequent marital dissolution via either divorce or widowhood. We use a series of discrete time event history models with competing risks to estimate the impact of husband’s and wife’s physical illness onset on risk of divorce and widowhood.