Journal of Biosocial Science

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THE IMPACT OF CO[hyphen]RESIDENT SPOUSES AND SONS ON ELDERLY MORTALITY IN RURAL BANGLADESH


M. OMAR RAHMAN a1
a1 Department of Population and International Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Abstract

This paper uses prospective data from the Matlab surveillance system in rural Bangladesh to demonstrate that initially co[hyphen]resident spouses and sons have a major impact on the subsequent mortality of old people, with significant differences by the sex of the elderly person, and the age of the son. Spouses significantly reduce mortality by similar magnitudes for both elderly men and women. On the other hand, co[hyphen]resident adult sons reduce mortality for elderly women much more than for elderly men, with younger sons being more beneficial than older sons. Furthermore, both married and unmarried females appear to benefit equally from co[hyphen]resident adult sons. Finally, this analysis suggests that the impact of spouses and sons on mortality in old age is not substantially mediated through changes in elderly economic status.