Social inequalities in the association between partner/marital status and health among workers in Spain

Lucia Artazcoz, Imma Cortès, Carme Borrell, Vicenta Escribà-Agüir, Lorena Cascant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The objectives of this study are to examine the association between partner/marital status and several health outcomes among workers and to assess whether it depends on gender and occupational social class. The sample was composed of all workers aged 21-64 years interviewed in the 2006 Spanish National Health Survey (8563 men and 5881 women). Partner/marital status had seven categories: married and living with the spouse (reference category), married and not living with the spouse, cohabiting, single and living with parents, single and not living with parents, separated/divorced and widowed. Four health outcomes were analysed: self-perceived health status, mental health, psychiatric drugs consumption and hypertension. Multiple logistic regression models stratified by sex and social class were fitted.Female manual workers who were cohabiting were more likely to report poor self-perceived health status, poor mental health status, psychiatric medication consumption and hypertension than their married and living with the spouse counterparts. In that group the prevalence of poor health outcomes was even higher when compared with single people. Among male non-manual workers, being married and not living with the spouse was associated with poor self-perceived health status, poor mental health status and hypertension. There were almost no differences in health between being married and the rest of partner/marital status categories for different combinations of gender and social class and, even, some groups of single people reported better health outcomes than people who were married.Our results show no evidence that being married and living with the spouse is unequivocally linked to better health status among Spanish workers. They emphasize the importance of not only considering marital status, but also partner status, as well as the role of gender, social class and the sociocultural context in the analysis of the association between family characteristics and health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)600-607
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume72
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Family characteristics
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Social factors
  • Spain
  • Work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Medicine(all)

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