Health discrepancies and marital satisfaction in older couples

Many studies have explored marital satisfaction and the factors that contribute to it such as communication, shared values, sexual satisfaction, and marital conflict. Furthermore, marital satisfaction has been robustly linked to health, and well-being. However, health discrepancy between romantic partners and how such differences in health may be linked to marital satisfaction has received far less attention. The current study extends previous research by examining the degree to which health discrepancy between partners is associated with marital satisfaction, using multidimensional assessments of both health (self-rated health, and chronic health conditions) and marital satisfaction (daily and global). Participants from the Relocation and Transitional Experiences (RELATE) study (N=82, comprising 41 heterosexual couples) completed questionnaire packets regarding demographics, health status, and global marital satisfaction. Additionally, participants completed experience sampling surveys, called ecological momentary assessment surveys (EMA), each day for 7 consecutive days via mobile smart phones. The results demonstrated that people with better self-rated health compared to their partner tended to report lower average daily marital satisfaction. Health discrepancy was not predictive of global marital satisfaction. These findings point to the importance of refining the distinctions between daily and global marital satisfaction, as well as further differentiating health conditions based on severity, to elucidate how different dimensions of health uniquely contribute to different dimensions of marital satisfaction.
2023 Summer.
Includes bibliographical references.
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