Written by Irina L.G. TODOROVA, Valery TODOROV on . Posted in Special issue: Health In Central And Eastern Europe, Guest Editor: Adriana BĂBAN, Volume X, Nr. 1


The transitional period in Eastern Europe is characterized by a restructuring of gender roles and relations. In this paper, we discuss the possible contributions of gender constructions, in explaining the gendered implications of the transition on women's and men's well-being. The analysis is based on data from the World Value Survey (WVS) for 2 waves of data collection in Bulgaria in 1990 and 1997. The study confirms previous findings that women are more vulnerable than men in terms of well-being and morbidity. At the same time, the relative changes in well-being with time become more complex when we take into account gender, age and marital status, as well as their interaction. The interaction effects point to the fact that well-being, defined through both self-rated health and life satisfaction, changes very differently during the 1990's for married and single men, compared to married and single women. They can be interpreted in light of the fact that when it comes to the ultimate responsibility for economic provision for the family, there is an entrenchment of the construction assigning this responsibility to men and an increased economic dependence of women within the family. It can be argued that models of men's roles and constructions of masculinity present more limited choices for masculine identification and thus have implication for men's health.

Keywords: gender, well-being, Bulgaria, transitional period