Moving out and moving on: the triggering impact of mobility on mental health in the context of union dissolutions. Evidence from Belgium.

Joan Damiens, University of Helsinki
Christine Schnor, UCLouvain
Didier Willaert, National Union of Socialist Mutual Health Insurance Funds (UNMS/NVSM))

There is a large scientific contribution about how union dissolutions increase the risk of depression, but little is known about the underlying process of this relation and the impact of the residential changes on mental health in a context of union dissolution. This research questions how depression risk varies during a period of separation and according to whether the individual moves or not at the moment and/or in the year following the separation. The dataset gathers information about the antidepressants consumption of 20 to 64-year-old individuals affiliated to Socialist health insurance, the largest health assurance company in French-speaking Belgium, who lived in opposite-sex partnerships and observable from 2008 to 2018. Random-effect and fixed-effect OLS models are conducted. After controlling for observed and unobserved individuals’ characteristics, results indicate that the relation between depression and separation includes an anticipation effect and short-term consequences. Also, we notice a higher risk of depression for women who cumulate moves during the year of the separation and during the following year. This research reminds the material vulnerability of women during and after a separation, by showing that women who go through an unstable residential path during and following their separation face a noticeably high depression risk.

Keywords: Health and morbidity, Internal migration, Family demography, Gender

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 187. Wellbeing and Mental Health Outcomes: Measurements and Determinants