Health-Related Behaviors and the Benefits of Marriage for Elderly Persons

Published In: The Gerontologist, Vol 38, no. 5, Oct 1998, p. 618-627

Posted on RAND.org on October 01, 1998

by B. S. Schone, Robin M. Weinick

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In this article, we investigate the relationship between health behaviors, marital status, and gender in the elderly population. We estimate logistic regression models to determine the factors that affect the likelihood of undertaking healthy behaviors. Using data from the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey, we find that marriage has positive impacts on health behaviors in the elderly population and that, when these effects differ by gender, they tend to be larger for elderly men than for elderly women. These results extend earlier findings showing that marriage encourages healthy behaviors for a younger population and demonstrate that these benefits continue later in life.

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