Introduction There is substantial evidence that marriage is beneficial to health, but evidence on whether the health status of one spouse is similar, or concordant, with the other spouse is limited. This study assessed whether a chronic condition of one spouse is a risk factor for the same chronic condition in the other spouse. Methods The study used baseline data from the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly on 553 couples (1106 individuals) who are representative of approximately 500,000 older (≥ 65 years) Mexican Americans living in the southwestern United States. Logistic regression was used to predict six chronic conditions among couples: Heart condition, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. Analyses were adjusted for age, education, U.S. nativity, blood pressure, body mass index, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Results The wife's history of hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer was associated with higher odds that the husband would have these conditions. A history of hypertension, arthritis, and cancer in the husband was associated with higher odds that the wife would have these conditions. Conclusion These results provide preliminary evidence that chronic conditions in one spouse are associated with an increased risk of developing like conditions in the other spouse among older Mexican American couples. We propose that the reciprocal influence that marital partners have on each other may be caused by shared living arrangements and shared health risks. Health promotion activities should target family systems. In particular, health providers should gather health histories not only from patients and their genetic family members but also from spouses.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Preventing Chronic Disease|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 1 2005|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health