Does living alone worsen health among young adults?
health outcomes of young single-person households in South Korea
Does living alone have a negative impact on a person’s health? Specifically, do the health outcomes of young adults from single-person households differ from those of young adults from multi-person households? Single-person households are increasing around the world. Yet the evidence linking living alone and one’s health is mixed. This study examines the health outcomes of South Koreans in their 20s and 30s in single- and multi-person households, using 15 years of data from the Korea Welfare Panel Study (KoWePS) and individual and time fixed effects regression analysis. This paper examined the case of South Korea, where the number of single-person households follows the pattern of rise like other countries but has a distinct feature that it increased rapidly in a short period of time. The findings suggest a statistically significant association between household type and health outcomes. Young adults living in single-person households were shown to have a lower reported health status, were more likely to visit an outpatient clinic, and were more likely to suffer from depression. The article further examines how the disparities in health status and mental between the two household types develop over time using the Cox Proportional Hazards Model. The results suggest that the health status and mental health hazard of single-person households are larger than that of multi-person households, and the gap of hazard probabilities between two groups is widening over time.
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