Do Work-Family Patterns over the Life-Course Influence Health at Old Age? A Sequence Analysis Approach across 13 European Countries and the United States

Karen van Hedel, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam
Iván Mejía-Guevara, Harvard University
Erika L. Sabbath, Harvard University
Frank Van Lenthe, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam

Previous studies have found a US health disadvantage for life expectancy, self-reported health measures and mortality. A potential, yet unexplored hypothesis is that the strain of balancing work and family roles over the life-course is associated with health later in life, and may contribute to these cross-national differences in health. We hypothesize that combining work and family responsibilities is more strongly associated with poor health in the US than in Europe. Data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe will be used for the European countries and parallel data from the Health and Retirement Study for the US. Sequence analysis is used to link work-family patterns to various health measures. We expect that the results will document the difference in work-family patterns across the countries, as well as the varying extent to which these work-family patterns are associated with health across the US and European countries.

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Presented in Session 46: Life Course Approaches to Health and Mortality