Marriage is a very special relationship that has a high potential to influence physical and mental health throughout the adult lifespan and into old age. In this viewpoint, we propose a model that outlines plausible biobehavioral pathways that may underlie previously established spousal interrelations in long-term health trajectories and discuss specific resources that may facilitate favorable outcomes for everyone involved. Specifically, we focus on spousal associations in physical activity as an important health behavior and in stress-related processes as a key daily-life mechanism, which both reveal effects that may accumulate over time to impact longer-term health outcomes. We also consider spousal resources such as collaborative problem solving and joint goals as psychological variables that characterize the dynamics within a given marriage. We conclude by discussing areas in theory and research that are ripe for further consideration and lay out target questions for future inquiry.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geriatrics and Gerontology