University of Rutgers2014-10-24 3:31 PM

Happy Marriage, Happy Life? Marital Quality and Subjective Well-being in Later Life

Abstract

The authors examined associations between marital quality and both general life satisfaction and experienced (momentary) well-being among older husbands and wives, the relative importance of own versus spouse's marital appraisals for well-being, and the extent to which the association between own marital appraisals and well-being is moderated by spouse's appraisals. Data are from the 2009 Disability and Use of Time daily diary supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (N = 722). One's own marital satisfaction is a sizable and significant correlate of life satisfaction and momentary happiness; associations do not differ significantly by gender. The authors did not find a significant association between spouse's marital appraisals and own well-being. However, the association between husband's marital quality and life satisfaction is buoyed when his wife also reports a happy marriage, yet flattened when his wife reports low marital quality. Implications for understanding marital dynamics and well-being in later life are discussed.


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