Spousal concordance in health behavior change.

Published

Journal Article

This study examines the degree to which a married individual's health habits and use of preventive medical care are influenced by his or her spouse's behaviors.Using longitudinal data on individuals and their spouses, we examine changes over time in the health habits of each person as a function of changes in his or her spouse's health habits. Specifically, we analyze changes in smoking, drinking, exercising, cholesterol screening, and obtaining a flu shot.This study uses data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative sample of individuals born between 1931 and 1941 and their spouses. Beginning in 1992, 12,652 persons (age-eligible individuals as well as their spouses) from 7,702 households were surveyed about many aspects of their life, including health behaviors, use of preventive services, and disease diagnosis.The analytic sample includes 6,072 individuals who are married at the time of the initial HRS survey and who remain married and in the sample at the time of the 1996 and 2000 waves.We consistently find that when one spouse improves his or her behavior, the other spouse is likely to do so as well. This is found across all the behaviors analyzed, and persists despite controlling for many other factors.Simultaneous changes occur in a number of health behaviors. This conclusion has prescriptive implications for developing interventions, treatments, and policies to improve health habits and for evaluating the impact of such measures.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Falba, TA; Sindelar, JL

Published Date

  • February 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 43 / 1 Pt 1

Start / End Page

  • 96 - 116

PubMed ID

  • 18211520

Pubmed Central ID

  • 18211520

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1475-6773

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0017-9124

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2007.00754.x

Language

  • eng