Objectives: Although physical activity is linked to multiple health outcomes, a majority of Americans do not meet physical activity guidelines, often with precipitous declines among older adults. Marital quality is a less-explored, but important, factor that may influence physical activity, as spouses often influence each other’s health behaviors. Methods: We use nationally representative panel data to investigate whether positive and negative dimensions of marital quality influence physical activity, and whether age and gender moderate these relationships. Results: We find that both marital support and strain are related to higher odds of more frequent active exercise and walking, pointing to the complex influence of marital quality. Marital support became increasingly important to higher levels of walking frequency as men aged. Discussion: This study provides new information on the ways in which both positive and negative dimensions of marital quality may contribute to trajectories of physical activity across the life course.


This is the author accepted manuscript of Thomas PA, Richards EA, Forster AK. Is Marital Quality Related to Physical Activity Across the Life Course for Men and Women? Journal of Aging and Health. April 2022. The version of record is available from Sage Journals at DOI: 10.1177/08982643221083083. Reuse restricted to noncommercial and nonderivative uses.


marriage, health behaviors, gender

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