Posted on Oct 27, 2016, 6 a.m.
How “in sickness and in health” is more than a catch-phrase.
Your own longevity may be profoundly affected by the health of your spouse/partner. David A. Sbarra, from the University of Arizona (Arizona, USA), and colleagues reviewed data collected on 8,187 married couples, average age early 60 years, enrolled in the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), Participants self-reported physical health and quality of life, and were assessed by standardized tests to measure verbal fluency, word recall and delayed word recall. The team revealed that the physical health and cognitive functioning of a person's spouse can significantly affect a person's own quality of life: specifically, that: “husbands’ and wives’ physical health and cognition predicted their partners’ baseline level of [quality of life] above and beyond their own health and cognition, and these effects were of equivalent size for both men and women.” The study authors report that: “The findings suggest that as couples age, husbands’ and wives’ [quality of life], cognition, and health are predictive of their partners’ [quality of life].”
Bourassa, Kyle J.; Memel, Molly; Woolverton, Cindy; Sbarra, David A. “A dyadic approach to health, cognition, and quality of life in aging adults.” Psychology and Aging, Vol 30(2), Jun 2015, 449-461.