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Parental share in public and domestic spheres: a population study on gender equality, death, and sickness.

Journal article
Authors Anna Månsdotter
Lars Lindholm
Michael Lundberg
Anna Winkvist
Ann Ohman
Published in Journal of epidemiology and community health
Volume 60
Issue 7
Pages 616-20
ISSN 0143-005X
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Clinical Nutrition
Pages 616-20
Language en
Keywords Adult, Family Characteristics, Family Health, Female, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Mortality, Parents, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Socioeconomic Factors, Sweden, epidemiology
Subject categories Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy, Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology, Economics and Business, Gender Studies


STUDY OBJECTIVE: Examine the relation between aspects of gender equality and population health based on the premise that sex differences in health are mainly caused by the gender system. SETTING/ PARTICIPANTS: All Swedish couples (98 240 people) who had their first child together in 1978. DESIGN: The exposure of gender equality is shown by the parents' division of income and occupational position (public sphere), and parental leave and temporary child care (domestic sphere). People were classified by these indicators during 1978-1980 into different categories; those on an equal footing with their partner and those who were traditionally or untraditionally unequal. Health is measured by the outcomes of death during 1981-2001 and sickness absence during 1986-2000. Data are obtained by linking individual information from various national sources. The statistical method used is multiple logistic regressions with odds ratios as estimates of relative risks. MAIN RESULTS: From the public sphere is shown that traditionally unequal women have decreased health risks compared with equal women, while traditionally unequal men tend to have increased health risks compared with equal men. From the domestic sphere is indicated that both women and men run higher risks of death and sickness when being traditionally unequal compared with equal. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding the relation between gender equality and health, which was found to depend on sex, life sphere, and inequality type, seems to require a combination of the hypotheses of convergence, stress and expansion.

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