Navigation Links
Husband's health and attitude loom large for happy long-term marriages

A husband's agreeable personality and good health appear crucial to preventing conflict among older couples who have been together a long time, according to a study from University of Chicago researchers.

The report found that such characteristics in wives play less of a role in limiting marital conflict, perhaps because of different expectations among women and men in durable relationships.

"Wives report more conflict if their husband is in poor health," said the study's lead author, James Iveniuk, PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology. "If the wife is in poor health, there doesn't seem to be any difference in terms of the quality of the marriage for the husband."

The study, "Marital Conflict in Older Couples: Positivity, Personality, and Health," reports results from a national survey with data analyzed from 953 heterosexual couples who were married or cohabitating. The study participants ranged in age from 63 to 90 years old and the average length of their relationships was 39 years.

The survey of older adults participating in the National Social Life Health and Aging Project, funded by the National Institute on Aging, compared the characteristics of the husbands to the characteristics of their wives and vice versa based on interviews with each person in which they were asked to describe themselves.

Iveniuk and co-authors found many gender differences when they examined personality traits including openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and anxiety. They added a new measure called "positivity," an overarching characteristic described as a person's overall desire to be seen in a positive light. "Wives whose husbands show higher levels of positivity reported less conflict. However, the wives' positivity had no association with their husbands' reports of conflict," Iveniuk said.

Co-author Linda J. Waite, Lucy Flower Professor of Urban Sociology and director of the Center on Aging at NORC, says the study's measurement of marital conflict could be summarized as, "How much does your spouse bother you?" The clashes are not primarily about fighting or violence, but rather whether one spouse criticizes the other, makes too many demands, or generally gets on the other person's nerves.

Another finding is that men who describe themselves as neurotic or extraverts tend to have wives who complain more about the quality of the marriage. Men with self-described neurotic wives may consider worrying to be a more "gender-appropriate" role for women. Husbands reported more criticism and demands from their wives overall, but also higher levels of emotional support.

"Several previous studies have been about the implications of marital status on health," Waite says. "This research allows us to examine individual marriages and not 'married people.' We have the reports on the quality of the marriage from each person, about their own personality and their own health."

The researchers suggest that future studies might examine the question of whether low levels of conflict in marriages require not only the absence of frustrating factors, such as poor health and negative traits, but also a better balance of emotional responsibilities between husbands and wives. They say some of those differences between husbands and wives may change as researchers study younger couples entering later life as compared to the current generation of older couples who may have more conventional gender roles.

The study was published by the Journal of Marriage and Family.


Contact: Jann Ingmire
University of Chicago

Related medicine news :

1. Multiple husbands serve as child support and life insurance in some cultures says MU researcher
2. Study: Husbands who do more traditionally female housework have less sex
3. You Survived Cancer: Now Pay Attention to Your Overall Health
4. NIH awards $20 million over 5 years to train next generation of global health researchers
5. Weill Cornell Medical College establishes Center for Healthcare Informatics and Policy
6. Esophageal Cancer Surgery Can Leave Lingering Health Problems, Study Says
7. Climate Change Could Be Tough on Seniors Health: Study
8. Supporting LGB children may influence their long-term health, BU study finds
9. U.S. Spends Too Little on Public Health Initiatives: Report
10. Optimal care of bariatric surgery patients vital for long-term health and well-being
11. Timing pregnancy an important health concern for women
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 26, 2015 , ... Somu Sivaramakrishnan announced today that he ... now offers travelers, value and care based Travel Services, including exclusive pricing on ... as, cabin upgrades and special amenities such as, shore excursions, discounted fares, travel ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... , ... PRMA Plastic Surgery is updating their record books yet again with ... flap breast reconstruction surgery! , “What an accomplishment for the PRMA team, says ... it’s an honor to have served all of these women.” , PRMA is one ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Karnataka (PRWEB) , ... November ... ... innovative online platform for mental health and wellness consultation, has collaborated with ... to holistically address their reader’s queries on topics on mental and emotional ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Indianapolis, IN (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... clean water accessible for all, Water For Empowerment ™ attracts volunteers together ... on clean water by empowering women as key stakeholders in the process. The ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... recognized once again for its stellar workplace culture with the company’s Cincinnati office ... , Medical Solutions’ Cincinnati office was named a finalist in Cincinnati Business Courier’s ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 Research and Markets ( ) ... Pacemaker Market Outlook to 2019 - Rise in Cardiac Disorders ... report to their offering. Boston ... Boston scientific and others. --> ... Biotronik, Boston scientific and others. ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ... Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, ... their offering. --> ) ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... "Self Administration of High Viscosity Drugs" report ... has announced the addition of the "Self ... their offering. --> Research and Markets ... the "Self Administration of High Viscosity Drugs" ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: