Does non-employment contribute to the health disadvantage among lone mothers in Britain, Italy and Sweden? Synergy effects and the meaning of family policy

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Abstract

This study analyses self-rated health and non-employment and potential synergy effects among lone and couple mothers aged 25–59 in Britain, Sweden and Italy, representing different family policy categories using data from national surveys (2000–2005). Synergy effects on health were calculated by synergy index. Non-employment only marginally contributed to the excess risk of poor health among lone mothers but there were synergy effects between lone motherhood and non-employment in all three countries, producing a higher risk of poor health than would be expected from a simple addition of these exposures. Results are discussed in relation to the different family policy and living contexts.

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