Marital stability after loss of a child using SHARELIFE | Munich Center for the Economics of Aging - MEA
01.01. - 31.12.2015 / SHARE - Research

Marital stability after loss of a child using SHARELIFE

Losing a child is one of the most stressful events in the lives of parents. Such a loss does not only affect the parents’ psychological and physical well-being but may also have negative consequences for their marriage. Theoretical assumptions from sociology and social-psychology rather stress the destabilizing effect of such an experience on the marriage. Empirical evidence for the relation between death of a child and increased risk of separation is inconclusive. Previous studies are only available for few countries and often leave out important confounding factors. By exploiting the retrospective data on parental and partnership history provided by SHARELIFE, we examine if couples across Europe show a higher risk of separation if they ever lost a premature child. The analysis reveals that the effect of losing a child has changed within the last decades: bereaved parents faced a higher risk of separation until the middle of the twentieth century. Within the last 20 years, however, marriages of bereaved parents are more stable. First results of this project were published in 2016.


Dr. Fabio Franzese

Dr. Fabio Franzese
Marriage stability and fertility after the death of a child

Franzese, Fabio; Schütz, Johanna (2016): "Bis dass der Tod euch scheidet? Eine Untersuchung der Ehestabilität nach dem Tod eines Kindes in 13 europäischen Ländern", In: Stauder, Johannes; Rapp (ed.), Soziale Bedingungen privater Lebensführung. Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag von Thomas Klein, Springer VS, pp. 73 - 94.