The Effect of Partner Education on Mortality Among a Racially Diverse Sample of Women
Master of Arts
Research suggests that partnering for women leads to economic benefits and improved access to health promoting tools. One way these benefits could be gained is through the pairing of high academic achievers. Educational homogamy is said to be the most common form of partnering and a pathway through which household resources can be accumulated and shared, ultimately leading to lower mortality risk. Recently, women have outpaced men in educational attainment. Discrepancies in the dynamic where women are dependent on their partners could be problematic; women who are more educated than their partners could potentially mean negative health consequences. In particular, gaps in education attainment between non-Hispanic whites and racial and ethnic minorities constrain potential homogamous partnering options. Using National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality Files (NHIS-LMF) for years 1999 to 2009 with merged prospective mortality follow-up data through December 2011 (n=114,531), I estimated the effect of partner’s relative educational attainment on women’s mortality. Results reveal higher odds of mortality for women with more education relative to their partner compared to women who have the same education as their partner. These associations do not generally vary across race and ethnicity. Understanding the dynamics of educational attainment between partners assists in better framing how concepts such as the martial health advantage apply to women’s health.