Understanding the impact of fertility history on health outcomes in later life.

Main Article Content

Lee Williamson
Chris Dibben

Abstract

Objectives
Aims of this research, involving data linkage and health outcomes, is to gain a full understanding of the impact of both fertility histories and childlessness on health outcomes mid-life accounting for socio-economic background and area of residence. The research draws on and extends work on reproductive histories and life-course outcomes.


Approach
We aim to extend this area of research, specifically for Scotland, using Census data (1991-2011) from the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) linked to health data. The Census health measures – including the 2011 Census health condition question on mental health - are the research outcomes and the explanatory information is from Census socio-economic data (captured around peak fertility for the research cohort in 1991), along with the SMR02 Maternity and SMR04 Mental Health datasets. The time-frame for available data allows 20 year follow-up from the 1991 Census to mid-life for specific female SLS birth cohorts (born 1959-1966, aged ~45-52 in 2011).


Results
From preliminary modelling we initially find, for this specific female research cohort, high birth parity to be an important factor in relation to self-reported mental health conditions at follow-up in 2011, but not once socio-economic and area-level variables are controlled for.


Conclusion
Preliminary modelling also highlights that relationship status – single, married or cohabiting – to be important over that of legal marital status as recorded at Census. For limiting long-term illness as a health outcome the findings are similar.

Article Details

How to Cite
Williamson, L. and Dibben, C. (2022) “Understanding the impact of fertility history on health outcomes in later life”., International Journal of Population Data Science, 7(3). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v7i3.2061.

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