Marital status, living arrangements and health: trends, comparisons and causes

Michael Murphy, London School of Economics and Political Science, Emily Grundy and Harriet Young, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Seppo Koskinen, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki and Pekka Martikainen, University of Helsinki

[Project number 30021]

In Finland the relative mortality advantage of the married compared with other marital status groups has considerably increased in recent decades, even though in some respects married people have become a less selected group. Support has been gained from the Finnish Academy of Sciences for a large project, mainly based on analysis of Finnish data, to examine trends and determinants of marital status differences in morbidity and mortality. The project includes a comparative dimension for which permission to use the LS is sought. It is proposed to undertake the work in two phases: Phase 1: Analysis of period differences in mortality by marital status 1971-76, 81-86, 91-96. A specification for the extract for this is attached; it has been designed to be also suitable for Adrian Farthing's MSc dissertation in order to use resources most efficiently during the beta test period. Phase 2: Analysis of effects of marital history and changes in marital status in health including use of 2001 data. A detailed specification of this will be supplied after the end of the beta test.

The LS is the only sample large enough to allow specific less common marital status groups (such as the remarried and cohabitees) to be examined and to allow analyses of differentials, controlling for socio-economic characteristics, free of numerator denominator bias.