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Changes in Premature Mortality differentials by marital status in Hungary and in England and Wales

P. Hajdu, M. Mckee, F. Bojan
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/5.4.259 259-264 First published online: 1 December 1995


During the 1970s and 1980s, when death rates were falling in Western Europe, the former socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe experienced decreasing life expectancy, in particular among males. Previous studies of the factors associated with these diverging trends have not examined marital status in detail, a factor known to be associated with differences In mortality In other countries. We describe a comparison of patterns of mortality by marital status in Hungary and in England and Wales. This demonstrates that increases in premature mortality in Hungary have been greatest among men who are widowed, have never married and, in particular, are divorced, with married men appearing to have been relatively protected. Among women, the greatest increase has been among widows. We explore competing explanations for this difference and conclude that economic factors are likely to have been of major importance.

  • premature mortality
  • marital status

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