This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

How Husbands’ and Wives’ Physical Health are linked to Their Marital Satisfaction




Groves, Juliana

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


Spouses reap many benefits from marriage, from being healthier to recovering better from illnesses. The majority of the research explaining why married people are healthier has assumed marriage contributes to health and, for the most part, overlooked how health contributes to marriage. The current study found, however, that spouses’ health was associated with both their own marital satisfaction and their partners’ marital satisfaction. More specifically, in a sample of 32 older adults, this study found that how spouses felt about their health, but not the diseases they were diagnosed with, was correlated with their partners’ marital satisfaction. The current study also found that wives’ number of doctor-diagnosed diseases was linked to their own marital satisfaction and husbands’ subjective health was linked to their own marital satisfaction. In the rapidly aging society that is upon us, these findings have the potential to help professionals working with older adults and older adults themselves. If older couples knew how to deal with the stress that comes along with their health, it could possibly help to stem the decline in marital satisfaction that has been found to characterize long-term marriages.