Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

All the Single Ladies: How the Intersections of Race and Family Type Influence Health
by Carter, Cassandra G., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2016, 160; 10142600
Abstract (Summary)

Decreasing rates of marriage and the delay of motherhood or decision to forsake childbearing altogether are emergent trends in the United States. Historically, shifts in family composition have always been important, yet the increase in the number of unmarried and child-free adults is rarely acknowledged by health researchers. Race and family type will be used to investigate the health of Black and White unmarried, childless women (SWANS), using intersectional theory, the Social Determinants of Health, and the Sojourner Model. The frequencies of poor health outcomes are analyzed to determine if family type influences health outcomes, and if so, does this differ by race. Using secondary data from the 2010-2013 Integrated Health Interview Series (IHIS) and binary logistic regression, results indicate that the main independent variables of race and family types interact to differentiate health outcomes.

This work uncovers race as a master status for Black women. Black married childfree women have better health outcomes relative to Black SWANS, with the exception of self-rated health. Black married parents are less likely to report adverse health conditions than Black married childfree and SWANS. Among Whites, all family types are in poorer health, when compared to married parents.

Notably, both Black and White SWANS experience the lowest rates of poor emotional health. These findings persist despite adjusting for demographic and socio-economic characteristics that are known to influence health. The analysis further underscores the importance of focusing on intra-racial variations in marriage and health and give added support to feminist arguments regarding the methodological and conceptual challenges to studying women who exist on the margins of society and Black women in general. Taken altogether, the results move toward an examination of health and family policies to identify areas for potential policy change and SWAN-advocacy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Horton, Hayward D.
Commitee: Loscocco, Karyn, Spitize, Glenna, Strully, Kate
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 78/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Sociology, Gender studies
Keywords: Black women, Family type, Gender, Health, Race, Swans
Publication Number: 10142600
ISBN: 978-1-339-97884-0
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