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

age aging social differences marriage journal life family

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.

MEGAN M. SWEENEY ELAINE M. REPLOGLE

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ALLEN, S. M. "Gender Differences in Spousal Caregiving and Unmet Need for Care." Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences 49 (1994): S187–S195.

BOOTH, A., and JOHNSON, D. R. "Declining Health and Marital Quality." Journal of Marriage and the Family 56 (1994): 218–223.

CARTENSEN, L. L.; GOTTMAN, J. M.; and LEVENSON, R. W. "Emotional Behavior in Long-Term Marriage." Psychology and Aging 10 (1995): 140–149.

GLENN, N. D. "The Course of Marital Success and Failure in Five American 10-Year Marriage Cohorts." Journal of Marriage and the Family 60 (1998): 569–576.

GOLDSCHEIDER, F. K. 'The Aging of the Gender Revolution: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?" Research on Aging 12 (1990): 531–545.

HOOKER, K.; MANOOGIAN-O'DELL, M.; MONAHAN, D. J.; FRASIER, L. D.; and SHIFREN, K. "Does Type of Disease Matter? Gender Differences Among Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease Spouse Caregivers." The Gerontologist 40 (2000): 568–573.

KARNEY, B. R., and BRADBURY, T. N. "The Longitudinal Course of Marital Quality and Stability: A Review of Theory, Method, and Research." Psychological Bulletin 118 (1995): 3–34.

KRAMER, B. J., and LAMBERT, J. D. "Caregiving as a Life Course Transition Among Older Husbands: A Prospective Study." The Gerontologist 39 (1999): 658–667.

LAUER, R. H.; LAUER, J. C.; and KERR, S. T. "The Long-term Marriage: Perceptions of Stability and Satisfaction." International Journal of Aging and Human Development 31 (1990):189–195.

LEE, G. R., and SHELAN, C. L. "Retirement and Marital Satisfaction." Journal of Gerontology 44 (1989): S226–S230.

SMITH, D., and TILLIPMAN, H. "The Older Population in the United States." Current Population Reports P20–532. Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2000.

SUITOR, J. J. "Marital Quality and Satisfaction with the Division of Household Labor across the Family Life Cycle." Journal of Marriage and the Family 53 (1991): 221–230.

SZINOVACZ, M. E., and EKERDT, D. J. "Families and Retirement." In Handbook of Aging and the Family. Edited by Rosemary Blieszner and Victoria H. Bedford. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995. Pages 375–400.

TOWER, R. B., and KASL, S. V. "Gender, Marital Closeness, and Depressive Symptoms in Elderly Couples." Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences 51B (1996): P115–P129.

VAILLANT, C. O., and VAILLANT, G. E. "Is the U-Curve of Marital Satisfaction an Illusion? A 40-Year Study of Marriage." Journal of Marriage and the Family 55 (1993): 230–239.

VINICK, B. H., and EKERDT, D. J. "Retirement: What Happens to Husband-Wife Relationships?" Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 24 (1991): 23–40.

[back] Marital Relationships - Factors Affecting Marital Relationships In Later Life

User Comments

The following comments are not guaranteed to be that of a trained medical professional. Please consult your physician for advice.

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or