Lifetime marital history and mortality after age 50.

TitleLifetime marital history and mortality after age 50.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsHenretta, JC
JournalJ Aging Health
Date Published2010 Dec
ISSN Number1552-6887
KeywordsAge Factors, Aging, Cohort Studies, Female, Health Status, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Marital Status, Middle Aged, Mortality, Multivariate Analysis, Proportional Hazards Models, Residence Characteristics, Risk Assessment, Risk-Taking, Smoking, Time Factors, United States

OBJECTIVES: This article examines the relationship between lifetime marital history and mortality after age 50.

METHOD: Data are drawn from the Health and Retirement Study birth cohort of 1931 to 1941. The analysis utilizes three measures of marital history: number of marriages, proportion time married, and age at first marriage.

RESULTS: Three or more marriages and a lower proportion of adult life spent married are each associated with a higher hazard of dying after age 50 for both men and women even after controlling for current marital status and socioeconomic status. Smoking behavior accounts for part of the relationship of marital history and status with mortality.

DISCUSSION: Research on marital status and health should consider marital history as well as current status. Two topics are particularly important: examining the relationship in different cohorts and disentangling the potentially causal role of health behaviors such as smoking.

User Guide Notes

Endnote Keywords

Mortality Rates/Marriage/Marital Status/Smoking/Socioeconomic Status/Health Behavior/Health Problems/Dying/Health Policy

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Aging Health
Citation Key7520
PubMed ID20660636