Marital Status and Work-Related Health Limitation: A Longitudinal Study of Young Adult and Middle-Aged Americans

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Objectives: The literature establishes clearly the health benefit of marriage. Much less clear from published data is whether work-related health (dis)advantages accruing to marital transitions persist over time or are limited to the short term. Informed by the marital resources and marital crisis perspectives, this study sought links between marital status measured via three approaches and work-related health limitation, exploring these relationships across genders. Methods: The study employed data from eight recent waves (1996–2010) of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. It applied generalized estimating equations to estimate the impacts, on work-related health limitation, of current marital status; of marital transition 2 years in the past; and of marital transition 8 years in the past. Results: Our gender-specific results indicated that lower likelihood of work-related health limitation was associated with a married status, a stable married status, and an entry into marriage. Conclusions: Results are consistent overall with the marital resources perspective. The use of three different approaches to evaluate the relationship of marital status to work-related health limitation may explain the gender-specific results.



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