Marriage and physical capability at mid to later life in England and the USA.

TitleMarriage and physical capability at mid to later life in England and the USA.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsWood, N, McMunn, A, Webb, E, Stafford, M
JournalPLoS One
Volume14
Issue1
Paginatione0209388
ISSN Number1932-6203
KeywordsDisabilities, Gait speed, Grip strength, Marriage
Abstract

Background Married people have lower rates of mortality and report better physical and mental health at older ages, compared to their unmarried counterparts. However, there is limited evidence on the association between marriage and physical capability, the ability to carry out the tasks of daily living, which is predictive of future mortality and social care use. We investigate the association between marital status and physical capability at mid to later life in England and the United States. Methods We examine the association between marriage and physical capability at mid to later life in England and the USA using two performance-based measures of physical capability: grip strength and walking speed. Multiple linear regression was carried out on Wave 4 (2008) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and Waves 8 and 9 (2006 and 2008) of the US Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Results In age adjusted models married men and women had better physical capability than their unmarried counterparts. Much of the marriage advantage was explained by the greater wealth of married people. However, remarried men were found to have stronger grip strength and widowed and never married men had a slower walking speed than men in their first marriage, which was not explained by wealth, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, health behaviours, chronic disease or depressive symptoms. There were no differences in the association between England and the USA. Conclusions Marriage may be an important factor in maintaining physical capability in both England and the USA, particularly because of the greater wealth which married people have accrued by the time they reach older ages. The grip strength advantage for remarried men may be due to unobserved selective factors into remarriage.

DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0209388
User Guide Notes

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30673714?dopt=Abstract

Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
Citation Key9992
PubMed ID30673714
PubMed Central IDPMC6343866