Social support and well-being among older adult married couples: A dyadic perspective

Ashley E. Ermer, Christine M. Proulx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The present study takes a dyadic approach to examine how social connectedness (i.e., neighborhood support, family and friend support, and social network characteristics) is associated with husbands’ and wives’ well-being during older adulthood. Participants included married couples (N = 832) from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, a national probability sample of older adults aged 57 and older. Using a series of actor–partner interdependence models, we found that wives’ and husbands’ closeness with their own social network, family support, and neighborhood social ties were all significantly associated with emotional well-being, and closeness to one’s social network was associated with self-rated health. Friend support was associated with emotional well-being only for women, while family support was associated with self-rated health for men only. Four partner effects emerged, with husbands’ friendship support being positively associated with wives’ self-rated health, husbands’ greater talk frequency with his social network being associated with wives’ lower emotional well-being, wives’ greater talk frequency with her social network being associated with husbands’ lower self-rated health, and wives’ closeness to their social network being positively associated with husbands’ self-rated health. The present study has implications for programming and the role of social connectedness beyond marriage.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2019


  • Aging
  • couple relationships
  • marriage
  • older adulthood
  • social networks
  • well-being


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