Physical and Emotional Health of Older Married Couples Tied Cloesly Together

July 6, 2011
45 Views

A study of older married couples in the American Psychological Association’s journal Health Psychology, finds strong associations between their physical and emotional health.

A study of older married couples in the American Psychological Association’s journal Health Psychology, finds strong associations between their physical and emotional health. Spouses have a much greater impact on their partner’s health than previously known.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia and Pennsylvania State University tracked the emotional and physical histories of more than 1,700 older couples over a 15-year period. Participants ranged in age from 76 to 90 and many had been married for more than 40 years.
Researchers found a strong relationship between “depressive symptoms” (unhappiness, loneliness and restlessness) and “functional limitations” – the physical inability to perform such basic tasks as climbing stairs, picking up objects, cooking and shopping. Spouses’ depressive symptoms were closely associated with those of their partners. Functional limitations in one spouse was not only associated with their own depressive symptoms but also with depressive symptoms in the other spouse. Increases in depressive symptoms in one spouse were also associated with greater functional limitations in both spouses.
Researchers noted that these findings show just how interdependent, emotionally and physically, long-term couples can become and suggest a greater need for holistic healthcare approaches. In other words treat the couple not just the individual.

Researchers are not sure if this mimicking behavior is specific to long-term married couples and whether this would happen with Baby Boomers with more diverse relationship histories, including divorces and remarriages.

You read of stories where one spouse dies and the other spouse dies shortly after. You come to find these were often long marriages where neither was apart from the other very long. So maybe The Wedding Song is right where one line reads Oh, a man shall leave his mother, and a woman leave her home. They will travel on to where the two will be as one.”
Perhaps we really become one in more ways than we know.

You may be interested

Where Is The Balance? Pushing Back Against Consumer Health Tech
eHealth
3 views
eHealth
3 views

Where Is The Balance? Pushing Back Against Consumer Health Tech

Larry Alton - August 18, 2017

When Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz glibly remarked that Americans struggling to afford insurance should choose between that and their smartphones,…

What to Look for in Patient Solutions Software
eHealth
365 views
eHealth
365 views

What to Look for in Patient Solutions Software

Robert Cordray - August 17, 2017

The medical sector is one area where technology has had a significant impact, largely by providing tools that simplify many…

Can Natural Remedies Like RediCalm Decrease Stress and Anxiety?
Wellness
2 views
Wellness
2 views

Can Natural Remedies Like RediCalm Decrease Stress and Anxiety?

Ryan Kh - August 16, 2017

According to research from the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the…