Marital Biography and Cardiovascular-Related Biological Markers: Exploring the Role of Gender

Michael McFarland, University of Texas at Austin
Mark D. Hayward, University of Texas at Austin

How marital biography is associated with health-related biological processes at the population level is unknown. The aims of this study are threefold. First, we seek to understand how an individual’s marital biography is related to four health-related bio-markers: systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, body mass index, and C-reactive protein. Second, we explore in-depth how the relationship between marital biography and health varies by each of the four bio-markers. Third, we explore if and how the relationship between marital biography and health-related bio-markers varies by gender. We utilize the 2005/2006 National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP) to explore these aims. The preliminary findings suggest that marital biography may differ in its association with under-the-skin biological risk more than it does with self-reported health measures. Also, in contrast to prior studies, men -- not women -- appear more adversely affected biologically (except in terms of BMI) by marital loss.

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Presented in Session 175: Union Status Changes and Health