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Past Event

Number of children, partnership status and later life depression in Eastern and Western Europe

About the speaker

Emily Grundy is a Professor of Demography at the London School of Economics where she has worked since October 2013. Previous appointments include positions at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Cambridge University, and King’s College London. Most of Emily’s research has focussed on aspects of individual or population ageing. Her main research interests are families, households and kin and social networks in later life, especially in relationship to health, associations between family life courses and health and well-being at older ages, and trends and differentials in later life health, disability and mortality and she has published extensively on these topics. Emily holds a European Research Council Advanced Grant to examine family life courses, intergenerational exchanges and later life health and leads the Ageing, Lifecourse and Population Health Analysis (ALPHA) research unit in the Department of Social Policy. Other current projects are focussed on social and environmental life course influences on mental health and cognitive function at older ages. Emily is Chair of the UK Population Investigation Committee, Past President of the British Society for Population Studies, a member of the Council of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population and member of various international and national advisory scientific advisory groups. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. 




To investigate associations between number of children and partnership with depressive symptoms among older Europeans and assess whether associations are greater in Eastern than Western countries. We further analyse whether associations are mediated by provision and receipt of emotional and financial support.


Using cross-sectional data for five Eastern (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Georgia, Romania, Russia) and four Western European countries (Belgium, France, Norway, Sweden) (n=15,352), we investigated variation in depressive symptoms using linear regression. We fitted conditional change score models for depressive symptoms using longitudinal data for four countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Georgia, France) (n=3,978).


Unpartnered women and men had more depressive symptoms than the partnered. In Eastern, but not Western, European countries childlessness and having one compared with two children were associated with more depressive symptoms. Formal tests indicated that partnership and number of children were more strongly associated with depressive symptoms in Eastern than Western Europe.


Availability of close family is more strongly associated with older people’s depressive symptoms in Eastern than Western Europe. The collapse of previous state supports and greater economic stress in Eastern Europe may mean that having a partner and children has a greater psychological impact than in Western countries.


This event is part of a seminar series:

Trinity Term 2017 Seminar Series: ‘Ageing, Wellbeing and Health’

Trinity Term 2017 Seminar Series ‘Ageing, Wellbeing and Health’ Thursdays at 14:00 – 15:30 Seminar Room: 66 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6PR Convener: Dr Sara Zella This seminar series will be a fascinating journey between theories and concepts of ageing, health and well-being. The talks will underline the mechanisms behind a happy, healthy and long life, ...

Event Details

18 May 2017 14:00 - 15:30


Oxford Institute of Population Ageing

66 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PR