The Significance of Cohabitation: Marital Status and Mental Health Benefits among Middle-Aged and Older Adults

TitleThe Significance of Cohabitation: Marital Status and Mental Health Benefits among Middle-Aged and Older Adults
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsBrown, SL, Bulanda, JR, Lee, GR
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences
Volume60B
Issue1
PaginationS521-529
Call Numberpubs_2005_brown_jgss.pdf
KeywordsAdult children, Health Conditions and Status, Housing
Abstract

Objective. According to the 2000 Census, about 1.2 million persons over age 50 are currently cohabiting. Do these unmarried cohabiting partnerships provide adults with mental health benefits that are similar to those enjoyed by marrieds? We extended prior work on marital status and depression by including cohabitation in our conceptualization of marital status. Methods. We used data from the 1998 Health and Retirement Study (N = 18,598) to examine the relationship between marital status and depressive symptoms among adults over age 50. We also examined gender differences in this association. Results. We found that cohabitors report more depressive symptoms, on average, than do marrieds, net of economic resources, social support, and physical health. Additional analyses revealed that only among men do cohabitors report significantly higher depression scores. Cohabiting and married women as well as cohabiting men experience similar levels of depression, and all of these groups report levels that are significantly higher than married men s.

URLhttp://psychsoc.gerontologyjournals.org/
Endnote Keywords

Couples/Depression/Housing/Social Support

Endnote ID

12972

Citation Key6996