CitationUmberson, Debra; Donnelly, Rachel; Farina, Matthew; & Saunders, Randi (2018). Race, Life Course Exposure to Death of a Family Member, and Health.
AbstractNumerous studies show the death of a family member increases health and mortality risks. Recent research further reveals race differences in exposure to the death of a family member with black Americans substantially more likely to lose a family member (child, mother, father, sibling, spouse), to lose a family member earlier in life, and to lose more family members over the life course. Prior research has not considered whether exposure to the death of family members contributes to well-documented racial disparities in physical health. We analyze NLSY-79 data to assess the impact of family member death on physical health, and whether differential exposure to loss reduces black-white differences in health. Preliminary results show death of a spouse and parent explain about 7% of the race gap in health. Death of a child is strongly associated with health and reduces the race gap in health almost entirely.
Reference TypeConference paper
Book Title2018 Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of American