Parity and men’s mortality risks
Renske Keizer, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Pearl Dykstra, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Frank Van Lenthe, Erasmus MC
We examine the impact of parity on men’s mortality risks, using data from the first wave of the Dutch GLOBE dataset, matched with 2008 register information on vital status. Most studies on associations between parity and mortality focus on women, and find a negative correlation or U-shape pattern. For men, the results are less clear-cut and knowledge about the mechanisms behind the association between parity and mortality is lacking. In our study, we take many social and behavioral factors into account and examine whether they explain the relationship between parity and men’s mortality risks. We find higher mortality risks for childless men in comparison to fathers, regardless of their number of parity. However, this effect is reduced to insignificance when we include information on men’s health behaviors, their partner status and their educational attainment. This suggests that childless men have higher mortality risks in comparison to men who have fathered two children, because the former lack the informal (indirect) pressures of children and a partner towards health-stimulating behaviors and because of the health benefits that go hand in hand with higher educational attainment.