A dyadic approach to health, cognition, and quality of life in aging adults

Kyle J. Bourassa, Molly Memel, Cindy Woolverton, David A. Sbarra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Married couples evidence interdependence in their psychological and physical wellbeing across the life span. This is particularly true in aging populations that experience declines in physical health and cognitive ability. This study investigated the effects of partners' physical health and cognition on quality of life (QoL) in a series of bivariate latent curve growth models. The sample included aging married couples (N = 8,187) who participated in the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) study and provided data across 6 years. Results indicated that husbands' and wives' baseline levels and rates of change in QoL covaried significantly over time. In addition, husbands' and wives' physical health and cognition predicted their partners' baseline level of QoL above and beyond their own health and cognition, and these effects were of equivalent size for both men and women. The findings suggest that as couples age, husbands' and wives' QoL, cognition, and health are predictive of their partners' QoL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-461
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Health
  • Marriage
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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