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Margelisch, Katja; Schneewind, Klaus A.; Violette, Jeanine; Perrig-Chiello, Pasqualina (2017): Marital stability, satisfaction and well-being in old age: variability and continuity in long-term continuously married older persons. In: Aging & Mental Health, Vol. 21, No. 4: pp. 389-398
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Abstract

Objectives: Recent research shows that the well-documented positive effects of marital stability on well-being and health outcomes are conditional upon the quality of marriage.To date, few studies have explored the relationship between marital satisfaction, well-being and health among very long-term married individuals. This study aims at identifying groups of long-term married persons with respect to marital satisfaction and comparing them longitudinally concerning their well-being outcomes, marital stressors, personality and socio-demographic variables. Method: Data are derived from a survey (data collection 2012 and 2014) with 374 continuously married individuals at wave 1 (mean age: 74.2years, length of marriage: 49.2 years) and 252 at wave 2. Cluster analyses were performed comparing the clusters with regard to various well-being outcomes. The predictive power of cluster affiliation and various predictors at wave 1 on well-being outcomes at wave 2 was tested using regression analyses. Results: Two groups were identified, one happily the other unhappily married, with the happily married scoring higher on all well-being and health outcomes. Regression analyses revealed that group affiliation at wave 1 was not any longer predictive of health, emotional loneliness and hopelessness two years later, when taking into account socio-demographic variables, psychological resilience and marital strain, whereas it remained an important predictor of life satisfaction and social loneliness. Conclusion: Marital satisfaction is associated with health and well-being in older couples over time, whereas psychological resilience and marital strain are major predictors explaining the variance of these outcomes.