Lone Motherhood in Early-Middle Adulthood and Late Life Disability and Health in the U.S. and Europe

Yuhui Zheng, Harvard University
Lisa Berkman, Harvard School of Public Health
Axel Supan, University of Mannheim

In this study, we aim to compare the associations between lone motherhood in early-middle adulthood and women's disability and self rated health in later life in the United States and Europe. Analytic sample includes mothers aged 50 and older who participated between 2004 and 2007 in the Health and Retirement Study (US), the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (England), and the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. Main outcomes measures are: Any activities of daily living (ADL) limitations, any instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) limitations, and fair/poor self-rated health (SRH). We found that health risks related to lone motherhood were often greatest in England, followed closely by the United States, and lowest in Southern and Eastern Europe. Being a lone mother at earlier ages was consistently related to poorer function and self-rated health at older ages. Results are robust in various sensitivity analysis.

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Presented in Poster Session 2