Partnership, Parenthood, and Cardiovascular Risk among Young Adults

Adrianne Frech, University of Akron
Jamie L. Lynch, St. Norbert College
Peter Barr, University of Akron

Objectives: Although social relationships are often seen as health-protective, these events are also often associated with cardiovascular risk factors, most notably increases in BMI and cholesterol, odds of hypertension, and systolic blood pressure (SBP). However, it is unclear whether romantic cohabiting unions and dating relationships are also associated with these risk factors, or whether unions and parenthood – when examined separately – differ in their risk profiles. We examine the relationships between marriage, cohabitation, dating, parenthood, and several indicators of cardiovascular risk. We consider both same-sex and opposite-sex relationships in our analyses. Results: Relative to those married to opposite-sex spouses, same-sex dating for women (systolic only) and men (glycated hemoglobin only) was associated with increased cardiovascular risk. Same-sex cohabiting women also reported lower levels of CRP relative to married women. After adjusting for other covariates, parenthood was associated with lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure among women.

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 Presented in Session P1. Marriage, Unions, Families, and Households