Grow old along with me...7/02
cmfce at smartmarriages.com
Tue Jul 30 12:17:08 EDT 2002
subject: Grow old along with me...7/02
Older Husbands Relied on by Wives Outlive Peers
July 29, 2002
- By Suzanne Rostler
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Elderly men who are the rock of their
relationship may outlive their peers who are not cited as a source of
strength by their spouse, according to researchers.
Investigators found that men aged 65 and older who were named as a source of
emotional strength by their wives were more likely to be alive 6 years
later, after economic and medical factors were taken into account.
A person who is relied on by a spouse may feel valued, which can improve
self-esteem and feelings of usefulness, Dr. Roni Beth Tower, who conducted
the study while at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues
The report, published in a recent issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, adds to a
growing body of research into the effects of marriage on physical and
emotional well-being. Previous studies have tied marriage to longevity and
lower levels of depression, particularly in men.
To investigate whether closeness within a marriage plays a role, the
researchers interviewed 305 healthy couples at least 65 years old. The
average length of marriage was more than 43 years and 85% of couples were in
their first marriage.
Couples were deemed close if they named their spouse as a confidant or
source of emotional strength, and if they were named by their spouse as a
confidant or source of strength. From this definition, four patterns of
marital closeness were possible: both the wife and husband naming the other;
only the wife naming the husband; only the husband naming the wife; or
neither naming the other as an emotional support.
The researchers found that a husband who named his wife was less likely to
remain alive, possibly due to the stress of contemplating the eventual death
of a wife who is a source of strength. Indeed, husbands who named their
wives as sources of strength were also less likely to have faith that things
would work out in the future, the study findings suggest.
This type of marriage may reflect a conflict with societal norms for gender
roles, Tower said in an interview, particularly among older couples.
Wives who were cited as a confidant were less likely to die only if they did
not have children. Wives who had children and were named as a source of
strength were slightly more likely to die, possibly due to the burdens
associated with family ties. These women tended to be involved in the lives
of their children and grandchildren.
Women were equally happy and hopeful whether they had children or not, the
"Perhaps the sheer burdens associated with presumably positive social ties
took their toll through the stress associated with being relied on by loved
ones," the authors suggest.
Tower and colleagues caution against generalizing the results to younger
couples, since husbands and wives in the study belonged to a generation with
different beliefs about marriage and the roles of men and women than younger
generations may have.
"Conditions have changed during the 20th century and we are not claiming
that the impact of specific configurations of marital closeness will be the
same for later generations," they write.
SOURCE: Psychosomatic Medicine
To SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE, or change your address,
visit http://www.smartmarriages.com Click Newsletter. Enter your
address in the appropriate box and proceed.
This is a moderated list. Replies are read by Diane Sollee, editor. Please
indicate if your response is NOT to be shared with the list.
This newslist shares information on marriage, divorce and educational
approaches. Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by members of the
Newsletter archive - to read ALL past posts to the newsletter:
6th annual Smart Marriages conference/Washington, DC
July 9 - 16, 2002 http://www.smartmarriages.com/conferencedetails.html
List your program in the Directory of Classes at www.smartmarriages.com
Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, LLC (CMFCE)
Diane Sollee, Director
5310 Belt Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015-1961
cmfce at smartmarriages.com
FAIR USE NOTICE: This e-newsletter contains copyrighted material the use of
which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We
make such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of
marriage, family, couples, divorce, legislation, family breakdown, etc. We
understand this constitutes a 'fair use' of such material as provided
for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit
to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for research and educational purposes. For more information go
to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use
copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond
'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
More information about the SmartMarriages