Health Declines and Relationship Quality among Older Adults

Ye Luo, Clemson University
Linda Waite, University of Chicago

This study examines the longitudinal relationship between declines in health and relationship quality among older adults using data from 1320 respondents who were interviewed in both waves of the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (NSHAP). It finds that baseline physical health has no effect on changes in relationship quality over a 5-year period, but baseline mental health of both respondent’s and his/her partner’s is associated with changes in relationship quality. Increases in respondent’s depressive symptoms over a 5-year period are associated with decreases in the levels of positive relationship quality and increases in the levels of negative relationship quality.

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Presented in Session 18: Marriage, Marital Dissolution, and Health