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Childless elderly: The influence of not having children on your mental health

Kunst, Sander A.M. (2021) Childless elderly: The influence of not having children on your mental health. Bachelor thesis.

SanderKunstS2407507_Thesis final version_BachelorProject.pdf

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This study looks into the effect of childlessness on the mental health of older adults in a European context. While the elderly population is growing in Europe, so is the amount of childless individuals. The elderly are vulnerable to loneliness, and depression as a result. Lack of social support from children could implicate that the childless elderly are a vulnerable group. This study uses a life course approach to researching the proposed relationship, and looks into different pathways into childlessness, the effects of parenthood on mental health, social networks of childless elderly, and cultural factors. Childless individuals have different social networks as a result of a different life course. Socio-economic and cultural context is relevant for the relation between childlessness and mental health among older adults. This study uses data from the ‘Survey for Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe’ dataset, which has gathered data on 7 different topics in 28 European countries and Israel. A two-sample T-Test is conducted to look at how childlessness affects mental health among older adults, and a multiple linear regression is conducted to control for other important factors. The two sample T-Test shows us that childlessness is significantly related to mental health. However, the multiple linear regression does not show a significant relationship between the both, likely due to having controlled for marital status. Marital status is likely to influence mental health among the elderly, and childless elderly are more likely to be without a partner. Future research towards childlessness could focus more on the different pathways into childlessness.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor)
Degree programme: Human Geography and Urban and Regional Planning
Supervisor: Vogt, T.C. and Bister, L.
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2021 08:37
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2021 08:37

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