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Does children’s union dissolution hurt elderly parents? Linked lives, divorce and mental health in Europe

Tosi, Marco and Albertini, Marco (2018) Does children’s union dissolution hurt elderly parents? Linked lives, divorce and mental health in Europe. European Journal of Population. pp. 1-23. ISSN 0168-6577

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10680-018-9501-5


Previous research has shown that parent’s union dissolution has negative consequences for individuals’ well-being, parent–child relationships and children’s outcomes. However, less attention has been devoted to the effects in the opposite direction, i.e. how children’s divorce affects parents’ well-being. We adopted a cross-country, longitudinal and multigenerational perspective to analyse whether children’s marital break-up is associated with changes in parents’ depressive symptoms. Using data from 17 countries and 5 waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (2004–2015), fixed effect linear regression models were estimated to account for time-constant social selection processes into divorce/separation. The results show that across European contexts parents’ depressive symptoms increased as one of their children divorced. Furthermore, we found that parents living in more traditional societies, such as Southern European ones, experienced higher increases in depression symptoms when a child divorced than those living in Nordic countries. Overall, the findings provide new evidence in support of both the notion of “linked lives” and a normative perspective of family life course events.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Author
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2018 12:16
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:30

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