Childlessness and Health Among Older Adults in 20 Nations

Nekehia T. Quashie , Chulalongkorn University
Bruno Arpino, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Radoslaw Antczak, SGH Warsaw School of Economics
Christine A. Mair, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

To our knowledge, no previous study has examined the association between childlessness and health using a wide range of countries and health outcomes. Therefore, the relationship between childlessness and health remains unclear, especially cross-nationally. This study improves previous literature by exploring and documenting associations between childlessness and health across 20 countries and five health outcomes. We use logistic repression models to estimate risk of poor health (poor self-rated health, 1 or more IADL limitation, 1 or more ADL limitation, 1 or more chronic condition, and depression) in a sample of adults aged 50 and older across 20 countries. Our results suggest that there is no clear association between childlessness and health, and that childlessness may be associated with better health or worse health in certain contexts. We discuss the meaning of these findings in light of cross-national economic, social, and cultural contexts and provide suggestions for future research.

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 Presented in Session 179. Aging Alone and Well-being