Life Course Mental and Physical Health of East and West German Cohorts Born before and after the German Reunification

Vogt Tobias, University of Groningen
Lara Bister , University Of Groningen
Mine Kühn , Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Existing research shows worse health outcomes for adult East Germans compared to West Germans. While some studies argue that this is due to pre-German reunification differences in health systems and care, it may also result from the tremendous economic downturn and societal transformation starting with the German reunification in 1990. The post-reunification situation can be seen as an adverse life event, which is especially relevant for vulnerable life course stages such as early life. However, no study has focused yet the long-term health outcomes of East Germans, who were born shortly before and after the German reunification, and were exposed to the post-reunification transformation years in East Germany in early life. The objective of the proposed study is to study the mental and physical health of the East German reunification cohorts (born 1985-1994) using subjective (i.e., questionnaire information) and objective health outcomes (i.e., biomarkers, medical examination data). Using the longitudinal cohort of the German Child Health and Development Survey (KiGGS), we aim to apply propensity score matching to assess the physical and mental health outcomes of the East German reunification cohort compared to their West German counterparts.

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 Presented in Session 71. Flash Session: Inequalities in Life Expectancy, Disability and Health