Paternity history and health in mid and later Life

Emily Grundy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Cecilia Tomassini, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

A growing number of studies have now demonstrated linkages between womens' reproductive histories and health and mortality in mid and later life. Hypothesised pathways include both biological and psycho-social influences. However there are far fewer studies of possible long term implications of different paternity histories. Although parenthood clearly does not have the same biological effects on men as on women, fatherhood is likely to have health implications for men because of, for example, changes in life style behaviours and changes in economic and social stresses and supports. In this paper we use data from the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study to examine associations between the paternity histories of men in first marriages and their subsequent health and mortality and contrast effects with those found for women.

Presented in Session 11: Family life, health and mortality