Impact of family relations on health and mortality in contemporary Bulgaria (post-communism: the fight for the souls)

Marta Sugareva, Bulgarian Academy of sciences

The paper aims to reveal some sociological and psychological aspects of the determinants of specific trends of health and mortality in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe, linked to the communist ideology and the overall social and political atmosphere in the communist and the post-communist context. The main hypothesis is that the replacement of religion by the dialectical materialism (philosophical core of the official and obligatory Marxist ideology) has created moral instability, with serious implications on family norms and behaviors, and therefore on psychological stability and health. A point is made on the impact of family relations, norm and values (on spouses roles, parenting, the care for the elderly, etc.) on social cohesion and caring for health on the personal and family level, as well as in social policy. Empirical evidence is provided from various representative surveys conducted in Bulgaria between 1977 and 2000.

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Presented in Session 26: Open forum 1