Dyadic links between health changes and well-being: The role of non-spousal confidants

Lynn M. Martire, Ruixue Zhaoyang, Christina M. Marini, Suyoung Nah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Although the marital relationship is often the primary source of emotional support in adulthood, sole reliance on the spouse to discuss health-related issues may be harmful to the well-being of both partners. The first aim of this study was to examine whether declines in health during later life would be associated with poorer psychological well-being in self and partner. We further investigated whether declining health would have a stronger impact on own and partner psychological well-being in the absence of non-spousal health confidants. Longitudinal actor-partner interdependence models (APIMs) were used to test both hypotheses with dyadic data from Wave 2 (2010–2011) and Wave 3 (2015–2016) of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP). Contrary to prediction, increased anxiety following spousal declines in gait speed and cognitive function occurred for those whose spouse did (rather than did not) have additional health confidants. A much fuller understanding is needed in regard to whether close relationships provide resources or present unwanted complications to dyadic coping, and the processes by which effects occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2617-2638
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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