Partner caregiving in older cohabiting couples.

TitlePartner caregiving in older cohabiting couples.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsNoël-Miller, C
JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Date Published2011 May
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsAged, Caregivers, Disabled Persons, Family Characteristics, Female, Frail Elderly, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Marriage, Middle Aged, Sex Factors, Single Person, Social Support

OBJECTIVES: Despite the rapidly increasing prevalence of cohabitation among older adults, the caregiving literature has exclusively focused on formally married individuals. Extending prior work on intra-couple care, this study contrasts frail cohabitors' patterns of care receipt from a partner to that of frail spouses.

METHODS: Using nationally representative panel data from the Health and Retirement Study (2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006), we estimate random effects cross-sectional times series models predicting frail cohabitors' likelihood of receiving partner care compared with their married counterparts'. Conditional on the receipt of intra-couple care, we also examine differences in marital and nonmarital partners' caregiving hours and caregiving involvement relative to other helpers.

RESULTS: Net of sociodemographic, disability, and comorbidity factors, we find that cohabitors are less likely to receive partner care than married individuals. However, caregiving nonmarital partners provide as many hours of care as spouses while providing a substantially larger share of disabled respondents' care than marital partners.

DISCUSSION: Cohabitation and marriage have distinct implications for older adults' patterns of partner care receipt. This study adds weight to a growing body of research emphasizing the importance of accounting for older adults' nontraditional union forms and of examining the ramifications of cohabitation for older adults' well-being.


Noel-Miller, Claire M Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural United States The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2011 May;66(3):341-53. Epub 2011 Apr 11.

User Guide Notes

Endnote Keywords

Cohabitation/Caregivers/Disabled Persons/Family Characteristics/WOMEN/Frail Elderly/Interpersonal Relations/Interpersonal Relations/Marriage/Middle Aged/Sex Factors/Single Person/Single Person/Social Support

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Citation Key7653
PubMed ID21482588
PubMed Central IDPMC3078761