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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Associations between perceived support in older adult marriages and dyadic co-variations in momentary affect and aches Michalowski, Victoria Izabela


Spousal support within marriage may be particularly important in old age when spouses become more likely to rely on each other’s help. However, spousal support does not have to be unanimously positive. In fact, very little is known about co-variations in spousal affect and aches as couples engage in their daily routines and environments. Up to 27 simultaneous, momentary assessments from 49 older adult married couples (M age = 72 years (60-83); M relationship duration = 42 years) were used taking into account the perspective of both partners. This research shows that social support within marriage was associated with reduced overall levels of negative affect but unrelated to positive affect. Interestingly, high spousal support was both associated with reduced overall negative affect means but also with an increased co-variation in negative affect between partners. No similar co-variations were observed for aches and positive affect. Spousal support may be a double-edged sword; it is associated with reduced overall negative affect, but it may also lead to more permeable boundaries between spouses that seem to be specific to negative affect.

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