Marital satisfaction among older couples: the role of satisfaction with social networks and psychological well-being

Ruth Walker, Linda Isherwood, Cassandra Burton, Kathryn Kitwe-Magambo, Mary Luszcz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Marital satisfaction is important for health and well-being, although determinants of satisfaction among older couples are unclear. Much of the marital literature has focused on the role of the spouse, in isolation from satisfaction with broader social relationships. We conducted separate semi-structured interviews with both members of n = 40 couples (mean age 76 years) to measure satisfaction with particular types of social networks (confidant, friend, children, other relatives) as well as levels of physical and psychological well-being. In order to account for the likely interdependence among observations within married couples, a series of multi-level models, culminating in a full actor-partner interdependence model, were fitted. Results indicate that an individual's own depressive symptoms were related to their levels of marital satisfaction, whereby higher scores on the depression scale predicted lower marital satisfaction scores for the individual. None of the individual's other variables (physical well-being, sociodemographic, or social network satisfaction), nor any of the spouse variables, were related to individual levels of marital satisfaction. These findings reinforce the importance of psychological well-being as influencing the quality of older couple relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-139
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Volume76
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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