On Monday, November 25 2019, 14:00 - 15:30, Reyn van Ewijk (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) will present:
Are Grandchildren good for you? The Health Effects of becoming a Grandparent
While a burgeoning literature has been focusing on the health effects of two major transitions in the life of the elderly – retirement and death of a spouse – a third major potential life transition, taking on the role of grandparent, has remained largely unexplored. As people are spending a longer time in grandparenthood, the health dynamics of this transition are relevant for policy makers considering child care policies, retirement policies or other policies part of the active ageing framework. Using longitudinal data of 10 Western European countries from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), we are, to our knowledge, the first to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the causal relationship of the transition to grandparenthood on the health of the elderly. We find that the transition into grandparenthood leads to worsening subjective well-being. At the same time, however, physical health improves. Both effects are more pronounced among grandmothers. Heterogeneity analyses show that the negative effects on subjective well-being occur among grandparents who are less closely involved with their families and never take care of their grandchildren. These individuals also do not experience positive effects on physical health when becoming a grandparent. The positive effects on physical health occur among grandparents with the opposite profile, whose subjective well-being remains unaffected. Exploring potential channels for these effects, we find that grandparenthood increases the probability that people retire, increases the amount of contact that they have with their children, and does not affect whether they are physically inactive, though it does lead to a reduction in vigorous physical activity.
Room: WST-C.02.12, Weststadttürme Berliner Platz 6-8, Essen
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