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Spouseless Motherhood, Psychological Stress, and Physical Morbidity

Paul L. Berkman
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 10, No. 4 (Dec., 1969), pp. 323-334
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2948439
Page Count: 12
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Spouseless Motherhood, Psychological Stress, and Physical Morbidity
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Abstract

Underlying this analysis is the hypothesis that spouseless motherhood is psychologically more stressful than married motherhood and that, therefore, spouseless mothers are more likely than married mothers to be physically ill. The findings show that physical morbidity is indeed more prevalent among the spouseless. They also show that several environmental and psychological stress factors, exclusive of the marital situation itself, impinge more frequently upon the spouseless than the married. Each of these "associated" stress differences might account for the observed health differential. But when each is held constant, the health differential tends to persist, in congruence with the underlying hypothesis.

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