Send to

Choose Destination
J Marriage Fam. 2014 Oct 1;76(5):930-948.

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

Author information

Department of Sociology and Institute for Health, Health Care Policy & Aging Research, Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, 26 Nichol Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08901 ( ).
Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, 426 Thompson St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104.
Jennifer Cornman Consulting, 113 Chapin Pl., Granville, OH 43023.
Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, 3620 S. McClintock Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061.


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.


actor–partner independence models; daily diary methods; experienced well-being; gender differences; happiness; life satisfaction; marital quality; older adults

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center