Union Formation, Social Disadvantage, and Health Risk Indicators in the 21st Century

Rhiannon A. Kroeger, Ohio State University

Using data from Waves 1 through 4 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), I examine sociodemographic variations regarding entry into marriage and cohabitation and changes in body mass index, daily tobacco use, binge drinking, and marijuana use. Indicators of social disadvantage include household poverty status, parent education, and household family structure at Wave 1. Findings indicate that transitions into marriage and cohabitation result in larger gains in BMI and fewer decreases in daily tobacco use or binge drinking among those from disadvantaged backgrounds compared to their more advantaged counterparts. Marijuana use decreases similarly following marriage and cohabitation regardless of sociodemographic background.

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Presented in Session 123: Families and Health and Nutrition