Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 3 » Marital Relationships - Gender Differences In Marriage, Changes In Marital Relationships Over The Life Course, Factors Affecting Marital Relationships In Later Life

Marital Relationships - Gender Differences In Marriage

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The experience of marriage in later life differs substantially by gender. Indeed, a larger proportion of older men than women are married, reflecting the tendency for women to marry men somewhat older than themselves, gender differences in rates of remarriage after divorce or widowhood, as well as gender differences in longevity. While approximately 77 percent of men age sixty-five to seventy-four were living with a spouse in 1999, the same was true for only 53 percent of similarly aged women (Smith and Tillipman). In addition to gender differences in the level of marriage, research points to important differences in the character of marital relationships in later life. For example, some research suggests that older husbands are more likely to name their spouse as a primary confidant, and less likely to name someone other than their spouse as a confidant, than are older wives. These results suggest that men may be relatively more dependent on marriage for interpersonal involvement and intimacy in later life than are women (Tower and Kasl). Older women, however, tend to be more economically dependent on the marital relationship than are their husbands. This gender difference in economic dependency is likely to decline for subsequent cohorts of elderly women due to improvements over time in women's participation and position in the labor market.

Marital Relationships - Changes In Marital Relationships Over The Life Course [next]

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