Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University Working Paper Series, Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University

No 5/2009:
Marital Partner and Mortality: The Effects of the Social Positions of Both Spouses

Robert Erikson () and Jenny Torssander ()

Abstract: Background Individual education, social class, social status and income are all associated with mortality, and this is likewise the case for the position of the marital partner. We investigate the combined effect on mortality of own and partnerís positions regarding these four factors.


Prospective follow-up of information in the 1990 Census of the Swedish population aged 30-59 (N=1 502 148). Data on all-cause mortality and deaths from cancer and circulatory disease for the period 1991-2003 were collected from the Cause of Death Register. Relative mortality risks were estimated by Cox regression.


All-cause mortality of both men and women differs by womenís education and status and by menís social class and income. Menís education has an effect on their own mortality but not on their partnerís, when other factors are included in the models. Womenís education and menís social class are particularly important for womenís deaths from circulatory diseases.


The partnerís social position has a clear effect on individual mortality, and womenís education seems to be particularly important. The results appear above all to support hypotheses about the importance of lifestyle and economic resources for socio-economic differences in mortality.

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18 pages, May 5, 2009

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This paper is published as:
Erikson, Robert and Jenny Torssander, (2009), 'Marital partner and mortality: The effects of the social positions of both spouses.', Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health,, Vol. 63, pages 992-998

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