A multilevel dyadic study of the impact of retirement on self-rated health: Does retirement predict worse health in married couples?
Objectives: This study examined the effects of retirement on self-rated health for married couples, using interdependence and social stratification theoretical frameworks. Methods: Dyadic multilevel modeling of data (N = 2,213 non-Hispanic couples) from 1992-2010 of the Health and Retirement Survey. Results: Retirement was associated with worse self-ratings of health (SRH) short-term for both husbands and wives during the first couple of years of retirement. In addition, the longer husbands (but not wives) were retired, the more their SRH worsened. Cross-spouse effects varied by gender: when wives retired, their husbands’ SRH improved short-term, but when husbands retired their wives’ SRH improved long-term. Spouse education moderated the relationship between years since spouse’s retirement and SRH for wives. Discussion: Practitioners can use this information to help married couples through retirement planning and transitions. Results suggest that models of retirement in couples should pay greater attention to gender and other social stratification factors, spousal interdependence, and length of time since retirement.
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