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 - Discussion

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Taken together, these findings suggest that couples whose marriages survive into later life can generally look forward to happy and satisfying relationships. More research is needed, however, to better understand how marital relationships in later life may vary across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic subpopulations. More longitudinal analyses of representative samples are also needed to examine how individual marriages change over time and in response to important life events such as retirement and declines in health.

In conclusion, it is important to place the experiences of older Americans at the beginning of the twenty-first century in historical context, as demographic trends point to change in the context of marital relationships for subsequent cohorts of older adults. For example, changing social norms and improved economic opportunities for women have increased the overall labor force participation of wives. The effect of these changes on gender relations within later life marriages will be more strongly felt in the years to come, as cohorts of women who experienced high rates of labor force participation throughout their lives move into increasingly older age groups. High levels of divorce further suggest that increasing numbers of Americans will be unmarried as they enter old age. To the extent that marriage is associated with benefits in terms of health and well-being in later life, it is important that we better understand the mechanisms underlying these observed relationships, and identify alternative sources of emotional and instrumental support among older adults.



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