Photo Hugues Siegenthaler

A young "LIVES" author wins award for a paper on single parenthood and health

Emanuela Struffolino is the 2015 winner of the Population Young Author Prize. The journal is edited by the French National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED). The series LIVES Working Papers had published a first version of her article last year.

INED and the journal Population announced on February 29, 2016 that the Population Young Author Prize has been awarded to Emanuela Struffolino for her paper "Self-reported health among lone mothers: Do employment and education matter?", written in collaboration with Laura Bernardi and Marieke Voorpostel. This award was recently created in tribute to Valeria Solesin, a PhD student at Université Paris 1 and hosted at INED, who died at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris during the terrorist attacks of 13 November  2015.


Lone mothers are more likely to be unemployed and in poverty, which are both factors associated with a risk of poor health. In Switzerland, weak work-family reconciliation policies and taxation that favours married couples adopting the traditional male breadwinner model translate into low labour market participation rate for mothers.

In the case of lone mothers, employment can be associated with better health because it eases the potential economic hardship associated with being the sole earner. However, working can represent an additional stress factor due to lone mothers’ responsibility as the main caregiver. We investigate how family arrangements and employment status are associated with self-reported health in Switzerland.

Our analyses on the Swiss Household Panel (waves 1999-2011) suggest that lone mothers who are out of the labour market have a higher probability of reporting poor health, especially if holding an upper-secondary diploma. Lone mothers reported being in better health when working full-time vs. part-time, whereas the opposite applied to mothers living with a partner.


>> Struffolino, E., Bernardi, L., & Voorpostel, M.. (2016). Self-reported Health among Lone Mothers in Switzerland: Do Employment and Education Matter? Population-E, 71 (2), 187-214

A first version of the article had been published in 2015 by the LIVES Working Papers:

>> Struffolino, E., Bernardi, L., & Voorpostel, M.. (2015). Self-reported health among lone mothers: Do employment and education matter?. LIVES Working Papers, 2015(44), 1-28.