Gender differences in the relationship between household position and health in Europe

Jordi Gumà, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Gabriele Doblhammer-Reiter, University of Rostock

This work aims to shed some light on family ties within household as a social determinants of health status in men and women throughout the concept of individual household position (defined by three issues: living with a partner or not, living with children or not, and relationship with the family nucleus). The household position permits to approach the level of burden to which each individual is exposed due to being member of a certain household. This level depends on the balance between the resources that a certain individual gets and provides as a consequence of the interplay with other members of the household, being this balance strongly affected by the gender roles. In addition, the individual approach (household position) allows to run international comparison because it reduces the difficulties of comparing countries with different household arrangement profiles (i.e. Southern and Central European countries). Logistic regression models with data from the EU-SILC survey for five European countries (Spain, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Poland) in 2010 are run in order to analyze their specific association pattern between self-perceived health status and the interaction between sex and household position in population aged between 30 and 59. Our results show a divergent pattern in sex differences among countries in the association between health and household position. Looking to the household position’s differences, two meaningful differences are found: 1) living alone seems a disadvantaged situation in terms of health in almost all the countries for both sexes; 2) single mothers, situation which likely related to a higher level of burden, is the position whit the highest probability of poor health in Spain, the United Kingdom and Poland. These results point out to the effect of gender inequalities on the association between the different household positions and individual’s health status.

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Presented in Session 2: Health, well-being and morbidity