Marital quality and health in middle and later adulthood: Dyadic associations

Heejeong Choi, Jeremy B. Yorgason, David R. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. We investigated associations between positive marital quality and health among married persons aged 50 or older and their spouses. Prior research using data from married individuals has yielded inconsistent findings regarding the association between positive marital quality and global health outcomes. The present study involved married couples to examine how spouses' positive marital quality affect their own and each other's health, and whether these effects vary by age. Methods. Using data from 3 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (2006, 2008, 2010), we estimated a series of actor-partner interdependence models using mixed linear models. Results. Analyses found that over the 4-year period (2006-2010) increases in positive marital quality of both spouses were independently associated with increases in their self-rated health in midlife and old age as well as with declines in disability in old age. Increases in positive marital quality were also linked with declines in functional limitations for middle-aged and older adults. Discussion. Being perceived as a supportive spouse, as well as perceiving one's partner as such, has significant health implications. Overall, positive marital quality of both spouses contributes to health protection for middle-aged and older spouses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-164
Number of pages11
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume71
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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