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Fertility histories and chronic conditions later in life in Europe

Maria Sironi

European Journal of Ageing, 2019, vol. 16, issue 3, 259-272

Abstract: Abstract Understanding the association between fertility histories and health later in life is necessary in the context of ageing societies. Past literature has generally found a U-shaped relationship between parity, age at first birth, and several health-related outcomes. However, these findings differed to some extent depending on the country under analysis and on the measures of health considered. As such, using wave 3 (2008–2009) and 5 (2013) of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), this work aimed to answer the question: “Are fertility histories associated with the presence of chronic conditions later in life in Europe?” The analysis included 11 European countries and compared results using two different measures of chronic conditions: self-reported chronic or long-term illness and chronic diseases diagnosed by a doctor. Results showed that age at first birth is more relevant than parity for health outcomes at older ages. Moreover, in socio-democratic and continental countries, the association between fertility and chronic conditions—in particular between age at first birth and long-term illnesses—is statistically significant among women, but not among men. Finally, the association between fertility history and health was similar when using self-reported measures and chronic diseases diagnosed by a doctor.

Keywords: Fertility; Health; Ageing; Europe; SHARE; Chronic diseases (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1007/s10433-018-0494-z

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