Health, Disability, and Marital Quality Is the Association Different for Younger Versus Older Cohorts?


health; disability; marital quality; aging


An analysis of declines in health and the onset of disability and their links to marital quality using longitudinal data revealed that decreases in health were associated with declines in marital quality but that the onset of disability was linked to enhanced marital quality. Self-reports of declines in health had modest effects on marital quality, whereas reports that individuals’ spouses experienced declines in health were related to more extensive damage to marital quality. This was especially true when wives were reporting health declines in their husbands. Husbands’ reports of wives’ disability were linked to increases in marital quality. When reporting on husbands’ disabilities, wives did not report increases in marital quality. As hypothesized, stage in the life course did moderate the associations observed. Specifically, health decrements were associated with greater changes in marital quality among the young and middle aged than among an older cohort.

Original Publication Citation

Yorgason, J.B., Booth, A., & Johnson, D. (2008). Health, Disability, and Marital Quality: Is the Association Different for Younger Versus Older Cohorts? Research on Aging, 60, 623-648. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbu222

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Research on Aging




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor