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Emotional Distress and Childlessness in Estonia: A comparison of men and women.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The mental-health consequences of childlessness have been well documented and the perception is that women are more likely than men to experience lower mental well-being, including emotional distress, as a result of childlessness; despite the fact that very few studies have focused on the implications for men. Thus, employing OLS multiple regression we seek to examine: (1) the association between childlessness and emotional distress and whether the risk was greater among men or women. (2) Whether there is significant variation in emotional distress among childless individuals after controlling for socio-demographic factors. The data was derived from the Estonian Health Interview Survey, collected in 2006 and 2007. The survey was a multi-stage random sample of the Estonian Population aged 15-85. Under study was men and women aged 40 and above (N=4294).The outcome variable- emotional distress is based on the emotional state questionnaire (EST-Q), a self-rated health measure. The simple regression and multivariate OLS regressions indicated higher predicted levels of emotional distress symptoms for childless men when compared to childless women. In comparison, the interactions revealed more distress among childless women. Overall, the results garnered indicate that educational attainment and personal income ameliorates the negative mental health consequences of childlessness. However, the degree and manner in which childlessness matter differ by gender, ethnicity and relationship status, but was inconclusive for age. An unexpected finding from the interaction models was the high level of distress among women that were parents. In general, the outcomes point to other reasons for the higher levels of distress among women.

The mental-health consequences of childlessness have been well documented and the perception is that women are more likely than men to experience lower mental well-being, including emotional distress, as a result of childlessness; despite the fact that very few studies have focused on the implications for men. Thus, employing OLS multiple regression we seek to examine: (1) the association between childlessness and emotional distress and whether the risk was greater among men or women. (2) Whether there is significant variation in emotional distress among childless individuals after controlling for socio-demographic factors. The data was derived from the Estonian Health Interview Survey, collected in 2006 and 2007. The survey was a multi-stage random sample of the Estonian Population aged 15-85. Under study was men and women aged 40 and above (N=4294).The outcome variable- emotional distress is based on the emotional state questionnaire (EST-Q), a self-rated health measure. The simple regression and multivariate OLS regressions indicated higher predicted levels of emotional distress symptoms for childless men when compared to childless women. In comparison, the interactions revealed more distress among childless women. Overall, the results garnered indicate that educational attainment and personal income ameliorates the negative mental health consequences of childlessness. However, the degree and manner in which childlessness matter differ by gender, ethnicity and relationship status, but was inconclusive for age. An unexpected finding from the interaction models was the high level of distress among women that were parents. In general, the outcomes point to other reasons for the higher levels of distress among women.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 51 p.
Keyword [en]
childlessness; Estonia; emotional state questionnaire (EST-Q); self-rated health; gender
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-67067OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-67067DiVA: diva2:469433
Uppsok
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2012-01-30 Created: 2011-12-23 Last updated: 2012-01-30Bibliographically approved

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