February 09, 2021 | Press Release

Does a Lack of a Family Network Put a Strain on Mental Health?

Too lonely as a couple? © iStockphoto.com/Sam Edwards

What role do family networks play in the mental health of people over 60 living as a couple in Germany? MPIDR researcher Peter Eibich and a colleague recently investigated this question.

To do so, the researchers used survey data from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) from 2002 to 2016 of couples whose families lived different distances away. Regarding couples in which one or both of the partners were not born in Germany, their parents or siblings were less likely to live nearby, compared to couples who were both born in Germany.

However, this difference in family networks does not affect the mental health of the over-60-year-olds. The two researchers have now published their study in the scientific journal Population, Space and Place.

Original Publication

Eibich, P.; Liu, C.: For better or for worse mental health? The role of family networks in exogamous unions Population, Space and Place. (2021) DOI: 10.1002/psp.2437

Authors and Affiliations

Peter Eibich, Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung, Rostock, Germany

Chia Liu, School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, UK

Author of the paper

Deputy Head Research Group Labor Demographie

Peter Eibich


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The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.