Partnership Status, Relationship Quality and Sleep among U.S. Older Adults

Jen-Hao Chen, University of Chicago
Linda Waite, University of Chicago
Diane S. Lauderdale, University of Chicago

This study investigated the associations between partnership status, relationship quality, and sleep characteristics among older adults using innovative actigraphy data from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, a nationally-representative sample of adults aged 62-90. Partnership status and relationship quality were not associated with the self-reported sleep measures, while there were significant associations with the actigraphic measures. Partnered older adults had better sleep quality, as indicated by a greater percent of time in bed spent sleeping, less wake time after sleep onset, and a lower level of sleep fragmentation. Relationship support was associated with a greater percent sleep and less wake time after sleep onset irrespective of the levels of relationship strain. Partnership status and supportive relationship were associated with an increase in objective total sleep time in men but not in women. There was no gender variation in associations between relationship status and objective sleep quality.

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Presented in Session 119: Social Relationships and Later-Life Health