|Title||Relationship quality and functional limitations among older adults with cardiovascular disease in the United States of America|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2019|
|Authors||Yu, Y-L, Zhang, Z|
|Journal||Ageing and Society|
|Keywords||disease progression, functional health, Health and Retirement Study, Marriage, relationship quality|
Substantial research shows that cardiovascular disease is a major cause of disability in the United States of America (USA) and worldwide. Despite the well-documented significance of intimate partnerships for cardiovascular health and disease management, how relationship quality contributes to the functional health of older adults diagnosed with cardiovascular disease is much less understood than mental health and mortality risk. Informed by the disablement process model and the lifecourse perspective, this study examines the association between relationship quality and functional limitations among partnered older adults aged 50 years and older diagnosed with cardiovascular disease in the USA. Data are from the Health and Retirement Study, 2006–2012 (N = 1,355). Multi-level linear regression analyses show that baseline negative relationship quality is significantly associated with increased functional limitations over the two- and four-year follow-ups. Additionally, the link between negative relationship quality and functional limitations is stronger among older adults with lower household income over a two-year span, compared to their higher-income counterparts, suggesting that these older adults are doubly disadvantaged by higher relationship strains and limited economic resources. Our findings demonstrate the significance of relationship quality for the functional health of older adults with cardiovascular disease and shed light on the importance of marriage/partnerships as an important social context for a critical stage in the disablement process (i.e. functional limitations).