Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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DFG project "Effect of Life Course Transitions on Health Inequalities. Health Consequences of Changes in Romantic Partnership, Work and Employment Status Among Men and Women” (AR 811/2-1)

(Duration: 2017-2020)

Research questions: This project aims to advance our knowledge about the emergence and reproduction of social health inequalities as a consequence of life course transitions. Based on the theoretical premises of the cumulative advantage/disadvantage model, we first analyse changes in health status due to transitions in the domains of romantic partnerships and employment. Second, we extend our focus to the impact of these life course transitions on the health of partners and children. Throughout the project, particular attention is paid to gender-specific health outcomes.

Theoretical model: The theoretical model rests on the assumption that life course transitions have an effect on health (causation) and, in turn, are affected by health (selection), leading to a potentially self-reinforcing dynamic of poor health or good health over time. Potential causal pathways - resources, stressors, strain, and health behaviour - are analysed as part of three work packages:

Work package 1 (partnership transitions): In this work package, we analyse the effects of health on union formation and union dissolution as well as health-related consequences of these transitions. We distinguish between marital and non-marital relationships as well as between first- and higher-order marriages.

Work package 2 (transitions in employment): This work package focuses on the associations between occupational mobility, unemployment and health. First, we examine how upward and downward occupational mobility influences health. In a second step, health effects of unemployment and re-employment are analysed. We concentrate on how health consequences of unemployment are moderated by the previous occupational status of an individual, a question that has received very little attention so far.

Work package 3 (social dynamics of health): In this work package, we investigate the extent to which family members buffer negative health consequences of (downward) mobility or unemployment. At the same time, we look at the spillover effects of one family member's transitions on the other family members' health.

Data and methods: Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, the analysis rests heavily on longitudinal methods exploiting within-subject variation, e.g., fixed effects panel regression for ordinal outcomes. In addition, dyadic data analysis is used to determine the effects of family relations on health and health behaviour.

Project-related publications and presentations


Conference presentations

201804.10. Vortrag “Modelling effect heterogeneity using fixed-effects impact functions: A causal analysis of maternal health around divorce, conditional on children’s age” auf der ESA RC21 Midterm Conference, Krakau, Polen
18.07. Vortrag „Protective Effect of Marriage on Health: Instant or Cumulative, Short- or Long-Term?“ angenommen auf dem XIX. ISA World Congress of Sociology in Toronto, Kanada (zusammen mit M. Mikucka und C. Wolf)
28.06. Vortrag “Health Trajectories Among Adults Raised in the Former German Demo-cratic Republic and in the Federal Republic of Germany” auf dem Workshop “Family life courses, intergenerational exchanges and later life health” (Organisatorin: Prof. E. Grundy, London School of Economics), London, England
15.06. Vortrag “Protective effect of marriage on health: instant or cumulative, short- or long-term?” angenommen auf der 16th ISQOLS Annual Conference in Hong Kong (zusammen mit M. Mikucka und C. Wolf)
20.03. Vortrag „Protective Effect of Marriage on Health: Instant or Cumulative, Short- or Long-Term?“ auf der International conference on Policies for Happiness and Health in Siena, Italien (zusammen mit M. Mikucka und C. Wolf)
28.11. Vortrag “The emergence of health inequalities across the life course - the role of partnership transitions” im Forschungskolloquium der Universität Bamberg (zusammen mit C. Wolf und M. Mikucka)
14.11. Vortrag “Familienstand und Gesundheit – methodische Überlegungen und empirische Befunde” im Forschungskolloquium der TU Dortmund (zusammen mit C. Wolf und M. Mikucka)
20.07. Vortrag „In the maze of model specifications in panel regressions. Same data, same question, different specifications, converging conclusions?“ auf der 7th Conference of the European Survey Research Association (ESRA), Lissabon, Portugal
14.07. Vortrag “Die Entstehung gesundheitlicher Ungleichheiten im Lebensverlauf – zur Rolle partnerschaftsbezogener Übergänge” im Rahmen der SOWiS-Vortragsreihe der Universität Siegen (zusammen mit C. Wolf und M. Mikucka)
28.04. Vortrag “Reproductive life courses and contextual country-level inequalities in Europe: Long-term health consequences for male and female cohorts” auf dem Annual Meeting der Population Association of America Annual Meeting (PAA), Chicago, USA (zusammen mit K. Loter)
201609.11. Vortrag “Causal influences of marital status on self-rated health. Conceptual issues and empirical findings” im Forschungskolloquium der Universität Duisburg (zusammen mit K. Loter)
14.10. “Causation or selection? Methodological challenges in longitudinal studies of divorce effects on health”, Vortrag auf dem 14th Meeting of the European Network for the Sociological and Demographic Study of Divorce, Stockholm, Schweden
28.09. “Methodische Herausforderungen bei der längsschnittlichen Modellierung von Effekten lebensverlaufsbezogener Ereignisse auf Gesundheit am Beispiel des Familienstands”, Vortrag in der Session der Sektion Medizin- und Gesundheitssoziologie “Kausalität in der Gesundheitsforschung: Modelle und empirische Evidenz” auf dem DGS-Kongress in Bamberg (zusammen mit K. Loter und S. Becker)
03.09. „Differences in Health between East and West Germans: The “Long Arm of Childhood” under Divergent Political Regimes in Germany", Vortrag angenommen für Session 810 "Children's health: Determinants and policy approaches" auf der European Population Conference (EPC), 31. August – 3. September, Mainz (zusammen mit K. Loter)
07.07. “Kausalität oder Selektion? Methodische Probleme in Längsschnittanalysen von Effekten lebensverlaufsbezogener Ereignisse auf Gesundheit am Beispiel des Familienstands”, Vortrag für die gemeinsame Veranstaltung der Sektion Soziologische Methoden und Forschungsdesigns und der Sektion Gesundheits- und Medizinsoziologie der ÖGS in Linz, Österreich (zusammen mit K. Loter und S. Becker)