Familienbiographie und Mortalität in Ost- und Westdeutschland
Family biography and mortality in East and West Germany
Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie, 35:5, 430–440 (2002)
Since more than 200 years, it has been well known that a marriage prolongs one´s life. Current research distinguishes between protective and selective processes. However, it has been missed that today´s marital biographies are not characterized by one marital status but through a sequence of different events and transitions. It is the aim of the present study to try to determine the effect of marital biographies and mortality. An East-West German comparison tests, if and how historical events influence this connection. The analysis is based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel. It can be shown that the protective effect of being married cumulates over years. Furthermore, each change in marital status increases the risk of mortality. However, persons recover from negative events (divorce, widowhood) over time. In East Germany, despite of historical change in 1989/90, the impact of the marital biography is at least as significant as in West Germany.
Keywords: Germany, mortality