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Soc Sci Med. 2006 Jul;63(1):123-36. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

Changes in family financial circumstances and the physical health of married and recently divorced mothers.

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Institute of Social and Behavioral Research, Iowa State University, 2625, North Loop Drive, Ames, IA 50010, USA.


This study investigates how divorce followed by single parenthood undermines the long-term physical health of rural mothers using four waves of survey data collected in Iowa, USA from 336 married and 80 divorced mothers during a 10-year period. Findings generally support the hypothesized pathways in that single-parenthood creates financial difficulties for rural mothers. Furthermore, this financial adversity is linked to self-assessed physical health trajectories that then contribute to change in morbidity. This reflects the developmental course of morbidity during the middle years. Methodologically, this extends existing research on the association between women's marital status and well being by explicitly examining individual trajectories of change in family financial strain and physical health, as well as by examining the dynamic association between both during the middle years.

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