Marital stability, satisfaction and well-being in old age: Variability and continuity in long-term continuously married older persons

TitleMarital stability, satisfaction and well-being in old age: Variability and continuity in long-term continuously married older persons
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMargelisch, K, Schneewind, K, Violette, J, Perrig-Chiello, P
JournalAging and Mental Health
Volume21
Issue4
Pagination389-398
Keywordsmarital satisfaction, marital stability, marital status, old age, well-being
Abstract

Objectives: Recent research shows that the well-documented positive effects of marital stability on well-being and health outcomes are conditional upon the quality of marriage. To date few studies have explored the relationship between marital satisfaction, well-being and health among very long-term married individuals. This study aims at identifying groups of long-term married persons with respect to marital satisfaction and comparing them longitudinally concerning their well-being outcomes, marital stressors, personality and socio-demographic variables.

Method: Data are derived from a survey (data collection 2012 and 2014) with 374 continuously married individuals at wave 1 (mean age: 74.2 years, length of marriage: 49.2 years) and 252 at wave 2. Cluster analyses were performed comparing the clusters with regard to various well-being outcomes. The predictive power of cluster affiliation and various predictors at wave 1 on well-being outcomes at wave 2 was tested using regression analyses.

Results: Two groups were identified, one happily the other unhappily married, with the happily married scoring higher on all well-being and health outcomes. Regression analyses revealed that group affiliation at wave 1 was not any longer predictive of health, emotional loneliness and hopelessness two years later, when taking into account socio-demographic variables, psychological resilience and marital strain, whereas it remained an important predictor of life satisfaction and social loneliness.

Conclusion: Marital satisfaction is associated with health and well-being in older couples over time, whereas psychological resilience and marital strain are major predictors explaining the variance of these outcomes.

URLhttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/136078
DOI10.1080/13607863.2015.1102197
Refereed DesignationRefereed