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posted on 08.01.2020by Filip Dabergott
It is well documented that the
disparities in mortality risk by socioeconomic status (SES) are greater among
men than women. We also know that the excess mortality from widowhood (the
widowhood effect) is greater among men. However, a different picture appears
when examining these associations jointly. Based on Swedish register data, this
study shows that widowhood weakens, and can even reverse, the gender
differences in socioeconomic disparity in mortality. The overall findings also
indicate that higher SES elevates the widowhood effect for men, but diminishes
the effect for women and that the widowhood effect is stronger for women than
men in the lowest SES categories. These results imply that men with higher SES
are less able to manage life alone, perhaps due to previous household
specialization. The disadvantage of widows in the lower SES-categories may
reflect inequalities in the health care system and exposure to financial stress
after spousal loss.