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Linda Waite, Health & Well-Being of Adults over 60

Longitudinal Patterns of Negative Relationship Quality Across Adulthood

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Birditt, K.S., L.M. Jackey, and Toni Antonucci. 2009. "Longitudinal Patterns of Negative Relationship Quality Across Adulthood." Journals of Gerontology Series B-Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 64(1): 55-64.

Some theories suggest that negative relationship quality decreases with age, whereas others suggest that it remains stable. This study examined negative relationship quality over time, by relationship type, and by age. A total of 1,361 adults aged 20-93 years in 1992 and 840 adults in 2005 reported how much their spouse or partner, child, and best friend got on their nerves and made too many demands. Negative child relationship quality decreased over time among younger participants. Negative friend relationship quality decreased over time among people with a different friend but remained stable among people with the same friend. Negative spouse or partner relationship quality decreased over time among those who had a different partner but increased among those with the same partner. This study provides evidence of relationship-specific developmental trajectories in relationship quality.

DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbn031 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2654992. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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