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Health and living arrangements of older Americans: Does marriage matter?

Publication Abstract

Liang, Jersey, Joseph W. Brown, Neal Krause, Mary Beth Ofstedal, and J. Bennett. 2005. "Health and living arrangements of older Americans: Does marriage matter?" Journal of Aging and Health, 17(3): 305-335.

Objective: This research examines how physical and mental health influence living arrangements among older Americans and whether these effects differ for married and unmarried persons. Methods: Data came from the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old study. These two intervals were pooled, and hierarchical multinomial logistic regressions were used to analyze pooled time lags.

Results: Functional status and cognitive functioning are significantly associated with living arrangements among those not married. Health conditions exert no significant effects among those married. Given the same functional status, unmarried elders are significantly more likely than their married counterparts to reside with their children or with others.

Discussion: These results underscore the critical role of the spouse in influencing living arrangements, providing new evidence supporting the assertion that a spouse is the greatest guarantee of support in old age and the importance of the marriage institution.

DOI:10.1177/0898264305276300 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States.

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