Marriage, Parenthood, and Self-Assessed Health Among Japanese Adults

Yuko Hara , University of Maryland

This study will contribute to sociological knowledge by providing new empirical evidence of the association between marital and parental statuses and self-assessed health from the non-Western, industrialized, and highly gendered social context of Japan, which is still relatively lacking in the literature. The results using the 8 waves of nationally representative survey data indicate that marriage is associated with better self-assessed health for men, while the association for women is marginally significant. Being a parent is positively associated with women’s self-assessed health, but it is negatively associated with men’s. I argue that in a social context where such traditional gender norms persist, women may not benefit much as men in terms of self-assessed health by being married. However, since many women leave the labor force, women may report better health when they become a parent, while the transition to parenthood may deteriorate men’s health due to the increased financial responsibilities.

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 Presented in Session 9. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions; Gender, Race, & Ethnicity