Spousal Education and Adult Mortality Risk in the United States

A PSC Brown Bag Seminar

Dustin Brown (U of M, PSC)

Monday, 9/15/2014.   ARCHIVED EVENT

Location: 6050 ISR Thompson St

The inverse association between individuals' own education and adult mortality in the United States is unequivocal, but the association between a spouse's education and adult mortality is not. The material and non-material resources available to individuals via their own education likely are pooled and/or exchanged within marriage to become resources at the household or family-level. This study utilizes data from the National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality Files (NHIS-LMF) to examine the relationship between spousal education and all-cause mortality risk among married adults in the United States. The analyses also assess whether this association varies by gender, age, and race-ethnicity. The results show that individuals' own education and their spouse's education each share an inverse association with the risk of death among married adults. Evidence for gender differences in the association between spousal education and mortality generally was limited. The influence of own and spousal education on adult mortality weakened with increasing age. Analyses disaggregated by race also suggested that spousal education was a more important determinant of adult mortality risk among married non-Hispanic whites than it was among married non-Hispanic blacks. Overall, the results imply that education is a household health resource among husbands and wives.

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