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Husband's health and attitude loom large for happy long-term marriages
Date:3/13/2014

enter 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.


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Contact: Jann Ingmire
jingmire@uchicago.edu
773-702-2772
University of Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

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