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Departmental Seminar - Union History and Midlife Health Outcomes

11 June 2024 at 7:00:00 am

Married individuals enjoy better health than unmarried people. Yet, health benefits of marriage may depend on timing and duration of marriage. Furthermore, marriage only represents one stage over an individual’s life course; cohabitation, divorce, and repartnering also intertwine with marriage. In this paper, we offer a life course perspective and posit that union history (including timing, duration, and sequencing of singlehood, marriage, cohabitation, dissolution, and/or widowhood) in earlier life influences midlife mental and physical health outcomes. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, we apply sequence analysis to capture the complete structure of union history. Using union history trajectories through measures of timing, duration, and sequencing of individuals’ union events, we show that gender, race/ethnicity, and social class influence union history trajectory. Compared to those who married in ages late 20s and stayed married, remaining divorced, single, and/or going through multiple union transitions lead to worse mental and health outcomes.

About the speaker:

Zhenchao Qian is Professor of Sociology and Faculty Associate of Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University. He received his PhD in Sociology and Demography from University of Pennsylvania and taught at Arizona State and Ohio State. Dr. Qian has published on topics in social demography, stratification, and inequality among top journals in sociology and demography. His research explores partner availabilities, assortative mating, and marital and cohabiting unions in the U.S. He studies ethnoracial boundaries with a focus on interracial and interethnic unions and multiracial populations. In addition, he examines individuals’ union histories and midlife health outcomes, immigrants’ wellbeing, and social and family change in China. His work has been funded by National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Russell Sage Foundation. He is an elected member of the Sociological Research Association and an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Departmental Seminar - Union History and Midlife Health Outcomes

Date: 11 June, 2024

Time: 3:00PM – 4:00PM

Venue: CJT-9.29

Speaker: Prof. Zhenchao Qian


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