Gender Differences in the Relationship Between Marital Status Transitions and Life Satisfaction in Later Life

Judith G. Chipperfield, Betty Havens
2001 The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences  
This study examined life satisfaction among individuals who had undergone a transition in marital status and those whose marital status remained stable over a 7-year period. In particular, using data from a large-scale, longitudinal study we assessed life satisfaction as measured in 1983 and 1990 among 2,180 men and women between the ages of 67 and 102. Groups of individuals were identified on the basis of whether a spouse was present or absent at the two measurement points. This allowed for a
more » ... This allowed for a classification of groups who experienced stability or transitions in marital status. Among those individuals whose marital status remained stable over the 7 years, women's life satisfaction declined and men's remained constant. Among those who experienced a transition-in particular, the loss of a spouse-a decline in life satisfaction was found for both men and women, decline being more predominant for men. In addition, men's life satisfaction increased over the 7-year period if they gained a spouse, whereas the same was not true for women. Generally, these findings imply that the relationship between marital status transitions or stability differs for men and women.
doi:10.1093/geronb/56.3.p176 pmid:11316836 fatcat:bav3dtbc5zhkhodxi4yj3j2ar4