Joint Production of Health within Household Context: Living Arrangements, Residential Environment, Emotional Closeness and Health in Older Age

Juyeon Kim, University of Chicago
Linda Waite, University of Chicago

Living arrangements have been linked to poor mental and physical health, but we know little about the pathway that underlies this association and have focused less on the non-independent nature of the health outcomes of people living in the same household. This paper examines joint health outcome of couples in various types of living arrangements by looking at potential pathways that operate through individual and family level. We focus residential environments and the quality of couple relationship as mechanisms. We use data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP) and multilevel modeling to analyze nested data structure. Results suggest that residential environment and the quality of relationship mediate the effect of living arrangement on physical and mental health. Single living with children appears to be disadvantaged on both physical and mental health but that effect disappears when residential environments are controlled.

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Presented in Poster Session 7