Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Widowed facing higher mortality risk

Date:
December 4, 2009
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Married people in the United States are living longer these days, but the widowed are experiencing a higher mortality rate, according to new research.

Married people in the United States are living longer these days, but the widowed are experiencing a higher mortality rate, according to new research by a Michigan State University sociologist.

The widening mortality gap between the two groups is a disturbing trend that should prompt scholars and politicians to seek out strategies to better protect and promote health for the widowed, said Hui Liu, study author and assistant professor of sociology.

Liu's study, called "Till Death Do Us Part: Marital Status and U.S. Mortality Trends, 1986-2000," appears in the December issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.

"It's a bit surprising to me," Liu said of the growing mortality rate for the widowed. "With the improvements in medical technology, it seems all population groups should be healthier and living longer."

Research from as far back as 1858 has shown that married people generally live longer than the nonmarried, but little is known how this relationship has changed over time in the United States. Liu set out to explore recent trends in mortality by marital status.

She analyzed the data of more than a half-million people in the federal government's National Health Interview Survey and found that, as expected, the overall mortality rate for married people decreased from 1986 to 2000. The rate also decreased or at least remained stable among all cause-specific deaths examined except diabetes, which saw an increase.

The mortality rate for the never-married also decreased, although it remained higher than that of married people.

But when it came to widowed people, the overall mortality rate increased. This was especially true for white women.

The results echo another study by Liu and colleagues that found a significant decline in self-reported health among the widowed from 1972 to 2003 in the United States.

In general, widowhood is associated with reduced economic resources and loss of social support, which may contribute to a higher mortality risk, the new study says.

But the stress and emotional trauma of losing a spouse as a confidant might be greater now than in the past as the average duration of marriage becomes longer with increasing life expectancy, the study notes. Further, men and women generally are losing their spouse later in life -- another factor that may contribute to a more frail widowed population.

"The growing mortality gap between the married and the unmarried, especially the widowed, raises concerns," Liu said. "As a frail population in terms of health status and mortality, the widowed clearly warrant greater research and policy attention."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Widowed facing higher mortality risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202153810.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2009, December 4). Widowed facing higher mortality risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202153810.htm
Michigan State University. "Widowed facing higher mortality risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202153810.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins