Additive or interactive accumulation in the life course: A study of life course effects on well-being

J.J. Mandemakers

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


This paper focuses on the impact of three major life course transitions (partner separation, unemployment, disability) on well-being. A long tradition of research has documented negative effects of these transitions on well-being. We re-examine these effects using a large four- wave longitudinal dataset in the Netherlands (NKPS). In addition, we examine whether the simultaneous occurrence of two or more transitions has a stronger effect on well-being compared to the effects of the sum of each transition. In the former case, effects can be regarded as interactive, in the latter case, effects are cumulative. We present several theoretical arguments for these competing hypotheses and we test these hypotheses using interaction effects. In a second step, we examine variability in the effect of the three examined life course transitions on well-being (MHI-5) using interactions with sex, age, and educational level. We find that the three delineated life course effects all have an expected negative impact on well-being with divorce and disability onset having the strongest impact. These effects are not-cumulative as there is evidence for interactive effects. We further find no evidence for moderation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventDag van de Sociologie - Dutch Sociology Day - Tilburg, Netherlands
Duration: 9 Jun 20169 Jun 2016


ConferenceDag van de Sociologie - Dutch Sociology Day


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