Marital Status and Bed Occupancy in Health and Social Care Facilities in the United Kingdom

Bernadette C Hayes, Pauline Prior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to test the hypothesis that marriage and physical health are positively related. A secondary analysis was performed of census data on all individuals aged 15 y and over occupying beds in general health and social care facilities (excluding mental health) in England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland in 1971, 1981 and 1991. Using bed occupancy in health and social care facilities as a proxy for ill health, this paper investigates the relationship
between marital status and physical health in the United Kingdom. The findings, expressed as the proportion of individuals (excluding staff and visitors) aged 15 y and over within these facilities, suggest that: a) Whether considered separately or together, married men and women are healthier than non-married men and women, as reflected in their much lower use of health and social care beds; b) This positive relationship between marriage and health has increased steadily since the 1970s; c) Within the non-married population, whereas the single are most at risk among men, the widowed are most at risk among women; d) In contrast to the married and widowed, there are some consistent age specific gender differences among the divorced and single, with men of working age at much higher risk than women of working age. This study confirms research findings elsewhere that marriage and physical health are positively related. Throughout the United Kingdom, not only are married people healthier than non-married people, as reflected in their much lower use of health and social care beds, but this relationship holds irrespective of gender. Public Health (2001) 115, 401–406.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-406
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health
Volume115
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2001

Keywords

  • marriage
  • bed occupancy
  • gender
  • physical health
  • census
  • United Kingdom

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