Overlooked in the wave of attention for higher mortality among middle-aged whites in the U.S. is evidence for rising mortality among white females in midlife by cardiovascular disease (CVD). The selectivity of this risk by age and sex suggests the potential involvement of a period effect that reshaped the population risk profile due to psychosocial stress — namely, the burdensome coupling of motherhood and work outside the home, which originated with females born during the Baby Boom and may have provoked enough stress to result in CVD morbidity by middle age. Using IPUMS-NHIS data for the 1997–2009 period, we examine how these stressors fit in the stress–CVD pathway for this generation of women. Results show that motherhood and employment are large and significant, yet mediated, predictors of midlife mortality, indicating potentially complex causal mechanisms requiring additional analyses.
Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1