Spousal social support and strain: impacts on health in older couples.

TitleSpousal social support and strain: impacts on health in older couples.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsRyan, LH, Wan, WH, Smith, J
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Date Published2014 Dec
ISSN Number1573-3521
KeywordsHealth Conditions and Status, Marriage, Older Adults, Social Support, Stress

Using a nationally representative sample of couples aged 51+ in the United States (N = 1,923 couples), the current study investigated whether both partners' perceptions of relationship support and strain are associated with an individual's self-rated health and functional limitations. The sample had an average age of 67.17 years (SD = 9.0; range 50-97). Actor-Partner Interdependence Models adjusting for couple interdependencies were applied using multilevel models. After accounting for age, education, gender, race, and couple differences in length of marriage, results indicate that individual perceptions of support were significantly associated with higher self-rated health and fewer functional limitations. These individual-level benefits increased if the spouse also perceived positive support and low strain. Finally, the negative association of an individual's perceived support on functional limitations was greater in those with a spouse reporting low levels of perceived strain. Findings are discussed relative to theory on behavioral and psychological pathways between partners' perceptions of support and health.

Alternate JournalJ Behav Med
Citation Key8913
PubMed ID24622976
PubMed Central IDPMC4163126
Grant ListU01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
T32 HD007109 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG040635 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
U01AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
1R01AG040635 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States