Boys at Greater Risk: How Parental Loss Affects Mental Health and Earnings

A large long-term study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health suggests that the premature loss of a parent may have greater health and economic consequences for boys compared to girls. The study, based on nationwide registry data from Finland, analyzed the impact of parental death before the age of 21 on mental health and labor market outcomes in adulthood for over 1 million individuals born between 1971 and 1986. The findings revealed that experiencing the death of a parent before the age of 21 is strongly linked to poor mental health and lower earnings/unemployment in adulthood for both genders. Men, however, appeared to be more vulnerable to adverse outcomes, with higher odds of hospital admission for mental health issues and significant reductions in annual earnings and the likelihood of regular employment compared to women who experienced a similar loss. The study highlights the long-term effects of parental loss and its potential impact on future well-being, with particular attention to the gender differences in outcomes.


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