Partner Consequences of Health Shocks

Giuseppina Valle, Florida State University
Janet Weeks, Florida State University
Isaac W. Eberstein, Florida State University

Studies examining health among older adults have focused on individual risk factors while giving less attention to social contexts. Among spouses, not only does their health have implications for their own well-being but also for the well-being of their partner. Using data from the HRS, we consider how the experience of a negative health event of one partner affects the health of the other partner. Using growth curve analysis, results indicate that among women, a health shock to their spouse has an immediate negative effect on their mental health and is associated with a decline in their physical health over time. Among men, a health shock to their spouse is not significantly associated with a decline in their mental health whereas a spousal health shock has an immediate negative impact on their physical health. These findings suggest the social context of intimate partners is important to consider when examining health.

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Presented in Poster Session 3