Chronic conditions, couple-level factors and union dissolution

Sergi Vidal, Jack Lam*, Janeen Baxter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the association between chronic illness and union dissolution by examining rich, longitudinal data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. Using competing-risks discrete-time event-history models on longitudinal, dyadic data, we find the risk of union dissolution to be approximately 40 percent higher when either partner reports an illness than in the absence of an illness. We then examine whether the observed associations are mediated by variations in paid work, housework, financial stress and time stress. Financial stress is the factor that contributes most to the indirect associations between dissolution and partner's health condition, but overall these factors account for only 18.5 percent of the association between chronic illness and relationship dissolution. Our results provide further insight into the factors undermining relationship stability and highlight the importance of reducing financial stress associated with chronic illness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100340
JournalAdvances in Life Course Research
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Chronic illness
  • Gender
  • Union dissolution


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