Gender Differences in the Protective Effects of Living with a Marital or Non-Marital Partner on Myocardial Infarction Incidence and Survival

Fanny Kilpi, University of Helsinki
Hanna Konttinen, University of Helsinki
Karri Silventoinen, University of Helsinki
Pekka Martikainen, University of Helsinki

The paper examines the gender differences in the influence of marital status and living arrangements on heart disease incidence and mortality. Single-living has been associated a greater risk of fatality after myocardial infarction (MI), but cohabition with a non-marital partner may also lack the health benefits associated with being married. However, the possible interacting effect of gender remains unclear. Using a large register-based sample from Finland with 12-year follow up of MI incidence and mortality, we test the gender difference hypothesis, while examining the possible confounding effect of socioeconomic position. The results demonstrate the important advantage men accrue for health from cohabiting with a partner, but indicate that in women cohabitation with a non-marital partner appears to be associated with stronger increased MI incidence and fatality risk than single-living. For both men and women, socioeconomic factors account for an important part of the association, but marital status effects still remain.

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Presented in Session 92: Gender, Marital Status, and Health