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Happy Marriage, Happy Life? Marital Quality and Subjective Well-being in Later Life

Deborah Carr, Vicki A. Freedman, Jennifer C. Cornman, and Norbert Schwarz

Journal of Marriage and Family
October 2014
The authors examined associations between marital quality and both general life satisfaction and experienced (momentary) well-being among older husbands and wives, the relative importance of own versus spouse's marital appraisals for well-being, and the extent to which the association between own marital appraisals and well-being is moderated by spouse's appraisals. Data are from the 2009 Disability and Use of Time daily diary supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (N = 722). One's own marital satisfaction is a sizable and significant correlate of life satisfaction and momentary happiness; associations do not differ significantly by gender. The authors did not find a significant association between spouse's marital appraisals and own well-being. However, the association between husband's marital quality and life satisfaction is buoyed when his wife also reports a happy marriage, yet flattened when his wife reports low marital quality. Implications for understanding marital dynamics and well-being in later life are discussed.

Deborah Carr, Vicki A. Freedman, Jennifer C. Cornman, and Norbert Schwarz. (2014). "Happy Marriage, Happy Life? Marital Quality and Subjective Well-being in Later Life." Journal of Marriage and Family, 76(5): 930-948.



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