Close to Death, Close to Spouse? Effects of Age and Subjective Life Expectancy on Spousal Support

TitleClose to Death, Close to Spouse? Effects of Age and Subjective Life Expectancy on Spousal Support
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationForthcoming
AuthorsLee, K
JournalJournal of Adult Development
ISBN Number1573-3440
KeywordsRelationship change, Spousal strain, Spousal support, Subjective life expectancy
Abstract

This study examines the longitudinal effects of older adults’ subjective life expectancy (SLE) on spousal support and strain toward their spouse. Data of 2080 older couples (N = 4160) from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS, 2006–2014) were assessed. Using dyadic growth curve modeling, the effects of older adults’ chronological age and SLE on spousal support exchanges were examined. Spousal support that wives received decreased over time. Spousal strain from husbands and wives also decreased over time. Older adults with shorter SLE provided less support for their spouse. They also showed a slower decrease in the strain they presented toward their spouse. A spouse may remain as an important social network for an older adult as suggested by the socioemotional selectivity theory and the social convoy model. However, an older adult’s efforts toward exchanging positive emotions with the spouse may decrease as the older adult’s perceived future time gets shorter.

DOI10.1007/s10804-021-09388-y
Citation Key11773