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. 2010 Aug;31(8):1106-1143.
doi: 10.1177/0192513X10365823.

Marriage and Health in the Transition to Adulthood: Evidence for African Americans in Add Health

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Free PMC article

Marriage and Health in the Transition to Adulthood: Evidence for African Americans in Add Health

Kathleen Mullan Harris et al. J Fam Issues. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between early marriage (before age 26), cohabitation, and health for African Americans and whites during the transition to adulthood using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). We examine three categories of health outcomes relevant to young adulthood: physical health, mental health, and health risk behaviors. Lagged dependent variable models are used to examine the health effects of early marriage and cohabitation accounting for potential health selection into unions. Our results indicate that early marriage by young adults does not have protective effects for African Americans, and finds more negative effects for African American men than women. There are mixed results for whites with some protective effects of marriage for binge drinking. Early marriage for both African Americans and whites is associated with increased Body Mass Index (BMI). Cohabitation is uniformly associated with negative health outcomes for all race and sex groups.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Conceptual model
Figure 2
Figure 2
Cumulative proportion of females married by age 26 by race
Figure 3
Figure 3
Cumulative proportion of males married by age 26 by race
Figure 4
Figure 4
Cumulative proportion of females married by age 26 by race and health status
Figure 5
Figure 5
Cumulative proportion of males married by age 26 by race and health status

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