Flutterby™! : no marriage or kids for a long life

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no marriage or kids for a long life

2001-10-11 20:03:07+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

It's funny, I was thinking this morning that NOW and others who claimed women could have kids and careers must be bloody loons, given that I've got enough trouble giving Alec as much attention as he needs. No idea how Jeanne does it. Then, across the ATMP mailing list comes this: The Scotsman reports on a study that shows if you want to live long and stay healthy, don't have kids or get married.

A massive study of 15,000 middle-aged men and women, carried out in Paisley 30 years ago, has given researchers a unique opportunity to determine the factors which contribute to a productive dotage. And the startling results reveal that women who have never married and never given birth have the best chance of good health in their later years.

For men, career success seems to be the elusive elixir necessary for sustained quality of life long after-retirement age.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Health Sociology Work, productivity and environment ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:59+00 by: Pete

Careful, Dan, your bias is showing. You've mischaracterized the story. It does not say that if I want to live long and stay healthy I should avoid having a marriage or having offspring. It says that if I want to stay healthy, a good career is what to watch for.

Not to mention that this is a purely corrolational study, proving nothing about cause and effect.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:00+00 by: Dan Lyke

I was ready to accept your criticisms, but I went back and reread the article, and:

Professor Gilhooly said: "It seems that having and caring for children is stressful for women and lack of career progression is stressful for men.

"So low levels of chronic stress from giving birth or a poor career are damaging over a lifetime."

A good career if you're male, avoiding children and marriage if you're female.

Yes, they probably do put a bit much into the correlation, but that's their words, not mine.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:00+00 by: ebradway

What is impossible to separate here are personality types and how they relate to stress. My mother has alot more stress now as a nurse as she did raising three boys. My father had a heart-attack three months after retiring from a successful 29-year career in the Air Force.

'Most men' I've known prefer jobs at places like BlueCross where you can make a steady progression through your career and avoid the stress of changing jobs or dealing with an unstable workplace. Personally, I left BlueCross after four months to work for a struggling dot-com because the of the stress of having to deal with morons who had been a BlueCross longer than me and moved farther up the ladder By moron, I mean the person who wanted me to create a PKI that can support all of BlueCross of TNs customer base - issuing X.509 certs to all 10 million of them - despite the fact that most of them used AOL and MSN. This, btw, is why the Republicans will be successful in completely removing the HIPPA regulations the Democrats created to increase privacy with medical information. HIPPA requires that all personally identifiable medical information sent over the internet be encrypted and suggests the use of a PKI with S/MIME.

'Most Women' I know now have been caught up in the women's lib thing and have contracted the same disease that men have: they feel that they are expected to have a career and advance through it at a pace equal to or greater than their peers, especially men.

The reason men tend to work and women stay home is that when a woman gets pregnant it becomes difficult for her to work (notice, I didn't say impossible) for a year or two - counting the pregnancy and early childhood. Anytime you take that big of a chunk out of a career path it throws things into turmoil. So it's just easier for men to continue to work and women to stay home.

I think the real problem is people have expectations of themselves that are too great. It is impossible to have a 'successful career' and raise healthy kids if your idea of a 'successful career' involves being as 'successful' or more 'successful' than your peers who aren't trying to raise healthy kids at the same time.