Kristen Springer received the 2007 Roberta G. Simmons Outstanding Dissertation in Medical Sociology Award from the American Sociological Association. The dissertation, His and Her Marriage Today: Wives' Income and Husbands' Midlife Health details the development and empirical assessment of three models examining how wives' absolute and relative income influence husbands' health. Each model reflects a theoretically grounded hypothesis about gendered norms in marriage. Using Health and Retirement Study longitudinal data on 1,795 non-retired midlife couples, findings show that a wife's income adversely affects her husband's health when she earns more than he does, thereby supporting the gender relations ("doing gender") model. Indeed, being economically dependent is worse for husbands' health than current smoking.The findings persist despite controls for husbands' and wives' baseline health, hours worked, labor market tenure,
marital history, family income, and family wealth. The results point to
"breadwinner anxiety" as an important determinant of men's health.
The award was presented at the ASA annual meeting in New York on August 13.