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Individual Well-being in Middle and Older Adulthood: Do Spousal Beliefs Matter?

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Windsor, T.D., L.H. Ryan, and Jacqui Smith. 2009. "Individual Well-being in Middle and Older Adulthood: Do Spousal Beliefs Matter?" Journals of Gerontology Series B-Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 64(5): 586-596.

Associations between health, control beliefs, and well-being in later life are frequently conceptualized in terms of the characteristics of individuals. However, spousal interdependencies in psychosocial characteristics are also likely to be relevant for well-being. The present study investigated associations of self-rated health, control, and relationship closeness with life satisfaction and positive and negative affect in a sample of 2,235 spousal dyads. A significant proportion of variance in health, control, closeness, and well-being occurred between dyads. Individuals' self-rated health, control, and relationship closeness were associated with higher well-being. Spouses' self-rated health and control beliefs were consistently and positively associated with individuals' well-being; however, effect sizes were small. Some evidence for individual's control beliefs buffering the association between health and well-being emerged, whereas spouses' perceived control was not a significant moderator of the health-well-being association. Results highlight the importance of couple interdependencies for contextualizing health and wellbeing in older adulthood.

DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbp058 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States.

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