Location of Repository

How is mortality affected by money, marriage, and stress?

By Jonathan Gardner and Andrew J. Oswald


It is believed that the length of a person’s life depends on a mixture of economic and social factors. Yet the relative importance of these is still debated. We provide recent British evidence that marriage has a strong positive effect on longevity. Economics matters less. After controlling for health at the start of the 1990s, we cannot find reliable evidence that income affects the probability of death in the subsequent decade. Although marriage keeps people alive, it does not appear to work through a reduction of stress levels. Greater levels of psychological distress (as measured by General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) stress scores) cannot explain why unmarried people die younger. For women, however, we do find that mental strain itself is dangerous. High GHQ stress scores help to predict the probability of an early death.\ud \u

Topics: HC, HQ
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:317

Suggested articles



  1. (2001). Are the effects of psychosocial exposures attributable to confounding? Evidence from a prospective observational study on psychological stress and mortality. doi
  2. (1998). Association between depressive symptoms and mortality in older women. doi
  3. (1993). Career Earnings and Death: A Longitudinal Analysis of Older Canadian Men. doi
  4. (1999). Depressive symptoms and 6-year mortality among elderly community-dwelling women. doi
  5. (2002). Does psychological distress predict the risk of ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack? The Caerphilly Study. doi
  6. (1993). Economic status as a determinant of mortality among black and white older men: Does poverty kill? doi
  7. (2003). Effects of income and wealth on GHQ depression and poor self rated health in white collar women and men in the Whitehall II study. doi
  8. (1993). Excess mortality for the unmarried in rural Bangladesh. doi
  9. (1996). Excess mortality of unemployed men and women during a period of rapidly increasing unemployment. doi
  10. (1990). Health and social inequities in Finland and elsewhere. doi
  11. (1982). Health and wage: A simultaneous equation model with multiple discrete indicators. doi
  12. (1991). Health inequalities among British civil servants: The Whitehall II study. doi
  13. (1991). Health perceptions and survival: Do global evaluations of health status really predict mortality? doi
  14. (2003). Health, Inequality, and Economic Development. doi
  15. (1999). Healthy bodies and thick wallets: The dual relation between health and economic status. doi
  16. (2003). Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Tests for direct causal paths between health and socioeconomic status. doi
  17. (1997). High stress denotes an individual who responds to 4 or more of the 12 GHQ questions negatively (see Bowling,
  18. Household income is averaged for the years 1991 and 1992. Household income per head is calculated as mean income per household per adult equivalent (the number of adults plus the number of children aged less than 18). doi
  19. (2002). How does marriage affect physical and psychological health? A survey of the longitudinal evidence.
  20. (1998). How much of the relation between population mortality and unequal distributions of income is a statistical artefact? doi
  21. (1979). Income and inequality as determinants of mortality: An international cross-section analysis. doi
  22. (1997). Income dynamics and adult mortality in the United States, doi
  23. (2001). Income inequality, the psycho-social environment and health: Comparisons of wealthy nations. doi
  24. (2002). Income, income inequality and health: What can we learn from aggregate data? doi
  25. (1984). Inequalities in death - Specific explanations of a general pattern? The Lancet, doi
  26. (1987). Inequality in health: Some international comparisons.
  27. (1994). Loss of employment and mortality. doi
  28. (1998). Macro-to-micro links in the relation between income inequality and mortality. doi
  29. (1993). Magnitude and causes of mortality differences between married and unmarried men. doi
  30. (2000). Marital protection and marital selection: Evidence from a historical-prospective sample of American men. doi
  31. (1996). Marital status and mortality: The role of health. doi
  32. (1993). Marriage selection and mortality patterns: Inferences and fallacies. doi
  33. (1995). Marriage, sex and mortality. doi
  34. (1997). Measuring Health: A Review of Quality of Life Scales. 2nd ed. doi
  35. (1986). Measuring the effect of income on adult mortality using longitudinal administrative record data. doi
  36. (2000). Mortality differentials among women: The Israel longitudinal mortality study. doi
  37. (1990). Mortality differentials by marital status: An international comparison. doi
  38. (2001). Mortality, income, and income inequality over time in Britain and the United States. NBER working paper 8534. NBER, doi
  39. (1989). National trends in educational differences in mortality.
  40. (1996). New evidence on the relationship between income and health. doi
  41. (1990). Occupational careers and mortality of elderly men. doi
  42. (1993). Physical health status at 36 years in a British national birth cohort. doi
  43. (1986). Social ties and mortality in Evans County,
  44. (2003). Socio-economic Status and Health: Causality and Pathways. doi
  45. (1995). Symptoms of psychological distress predict 7-year mortality. doi
  46. (1982). The association of social relationships and activities with mortality: Prospective evidence from the Tecumseh community health study.
  47. (1975). The impact of poor health on earnings. doi
  48. (1858). The influence of marriage on the mortality of the French people, in: Hastings,
  49. (1999). The long-term pattern of adult mortality and the highest attained age. doi
  50. (2001). The marginal effect on the years unemployed and years out of the labour force are relative to the (omitted) years employed. 33 TABLE 1b Female Mortality Equations (BHPS) Dependent Variable: Deceased between 1992 and
  51. (1974). The measurement of urban travel demand. doi
  52. (1974). The Pseudo R 2 is calculated using the method of McFadden
  53. (1995). Till death do us part: Marital disruption and mortality. doi
  54. (1970). Unemployment and mortality in Denmark, doi
  55. (1996). Unhealthy Societies: The Afflictions of Inequality. doi
  56. (2001). Where applicable, all columns include controls for age, education, whether a smoker and number of health problems. TABLE 4b Female Mortality and Marital Status Dependent Variable: Deceased between 1992 and
  57. (2001). Where applicable, all columns include controls for age, education, whether a smoker and number of health problems. TABLE 5a Male Mortality and Marital Status Those aged 40 to 65 Dependent Variable: Deceased between 1992 and

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.