Marriage Does Matter, but When?: The Case of Preventive Healthcare

Chris Morett, Fordham University

Demographic research has provided ample evidence that, as Waite (1995) phrased it a decade ago, marriage does matter. We know less about when marriage matters. This paper explores this topic using preventive health care, specifically flu shots, as a case study on this question. I investigate whether the effect of marriage and relationships differs depending on the characteristics of individuals and their spouses and partners. I also consider whether forms of social support can substitute for marriage, focusing on the presence of adult children. This research will provide important information about marriage at a time when marriage and the family are changing dramatically. The findings of this paper may also inform public health efforts. Finally, this paper will comment on intergenerational exchanges. Research has explored the nature, determinants, and effects of these exchanges. This research will further explore when these exchanges occur and when they matter most.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Family, Households, Unions; Data, Methods, Study Design