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Health Place. 2012 Mar;18(2):199-208. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2011.09.007. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Does non-employment contribute to the health disadvantage among lone mothers in Britain, Italy and Sweden? Synergy effects and the meaning of family policy.

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Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Social Medicine, Karolinska Institute, 171 76, Stockholm, Sweden.


This study analyses self-rated health and non-employment and potential synergy effects among lone and couple mothers aged 25-59 in Britain, Sweden and Italy, representing different family policy categories using data from national surveys (2000-2005). Synergy effects on health were calculated by synergy index. Non-employment only marginally contributed to the excess risk of poor health among lone mothers but there were synergy effects between lone motherhood and non-employment in all three countries, producing a higher risk of poor health than would be expected from a simple addition of these exposures. Results are discussed in relation to the different family policy and living contexts.

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