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Katharina Diehl (2008)

Potential Factors for the Rapid Reduction in Eastern German Excess Mortality after Reunification. Why are Eastern Germans Living Longer after German Reunification?*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 33, 1/2008, p. 89-110, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, ISSN: 0340-2398, DOI: 10.1007/s12523-008-0005-y

This paper gives an overview of potential factors that could be responsible for the changes in the mortality of the Eastern German population after German Reunification. First of all, it has to be distinguished between long-term and short-term changes in the life expectancy of Eastern German inhabitants. There was a short-term decline in Eastern German life expectancy after Reunification, especially for men. In the long term, Eastern German life expectancy conformed to the higher Western German life expectancy. The long-term view is the focus of this paper. In this context, the factors migration, health care system, economic conditions, psychological responses to Communism, environmental stress and lifestyle will be illustrated and evaluated on the basis of available literature. To sum up, it can be stressed that the improvements in the health care systems, together with the changes in the economic conditions, have predominantly caused the extension of life expectancy. These two reasons were supported by the reduction in the psychosocial stress levels of the Eastern German population and changes in lifestyle.

* original German title: Mögliche Faktoren für die rasche Reduktion der ostdeutschen Übersterblichkeit nach der Wiedervereinigung. Warum leben Ostdeutsche seit der Wiedervereinigung länger?

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