Understanding Society Scientific Conference 2019 - , University of Essex

The transmission of partner mental health to individual life satisfaction: estimates from a longitudinal household survey

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Day:Thu 4 Jul
  • Silvia Mendolia, University of Wollongong

This paper investigates the relationship between partner’s mental health and individual life satisfaction. We use an Australian panel data (HILDA) to estimate the life satisfaction impact of two different measures of partner’s mental health and to calculate the monetary valuation of them.<br />To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper to study the effect of partner’s mental health on individual’s well-being and to measure the impact of reduced life satisfaction in monetary terms. <br />Accounting for measurement error and endogeneity of income, partners’ mental health has a significant association with individual well-being. The effects range from -0.08 points for nervous or emotional condition (6% of a standard deviation of life satisfaction) to -0.13 points for a long term mental illness which requires help or supervision (around 10% of a standard deviation of life satisfaction). The additional income needed to compensate someone living with a partner with a long term mental condition is substantial (over USD 60,000). Further, individuals do not show adaptation to partners’ poor mental health. The results have implications for policy-makers wishing to value the effects of policies that aim to impact on mental health and overall levels of well-being.