Living arrangements and women's health

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The recent changes in the traditional patterns of living arrangements in the U.S.A. raise interest in their consequences for the well being of the individuals involved. In this paper the physical health of women in different living arrangements was studied. It was suggested that living arrangements differ in the degree of adult support and the nurturant responsibilities that often accompany women's social support. Since previous research seems to indicate that social support promotes health and nurturant obligations constrains it, it was predicted that women whose living arrangements offer steady adult support with slight nurturant responsibilities will be healthier than women whose living arrangements offer both, and that women whose living arrangements involve nurturant responsibilities without adult support will be the least healthy. It was also suggested that the more legitimate and socially acceptable are one's living arrangements, the fewer the social costs incurred. Health was measured by three health status and three illness behaviour indices. Data were taken from the NHIS of 1979, and a multiple regression analyses were conducted. When a health-profiles approach was taken, the health of women in different living arrangements ranked according to the hypotheses: women who live with their parents are the healthiest, followed by those in children/relatives' households; women head of families are the least healthy, just preceded by those living alone; women who live with their husbands or with unrelated persons are intermediate, and do not differ from each other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-208
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1988


  • health
  • living arrangements
  • nurturant responsibilities
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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