The Relationship Between Marital Status and Health: An Empirical Investigation of Differences in Bed Occupancy Within Health and Social Care Facilities in Britain, 1921-1991

Bernadette C Hayes, Pauline Prior

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Based on census materials collected in Britain from 1921 to 1991 and using bed occupancy as a proxy for health, this study focuses on the relationship between marriage and physical health. The results confirm the positive association between marriage and physical health within this society. Married people consistently make less use of residential health and social care facilities than do nonmarried people, and this relationship holds across all census years. This is not to deny, however, some important health differences within the nonmarried population, such as the increasing vulnerability of widowed females aged 65 years and older and of never-married males of working age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-148
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Family Isssues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003



  • age
  • census
  • marriage
  • vulnerability

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