Marital Quality and Diabetes in Later Life

Hui Liu, Michigan State University
Linda Waite, University of Chicago
Shannon Shen, Michigan State University

We assess how marital quality is related to both the risk of developing diabetes and the management of diabetes after its onset over time based on data from the first two waves of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project. The analytic sample includes 1,228 respondents, among whom 389 are diabetic. Factor analysis is conducted to construct positive and negative marital quality scales. Respondents who either reported to have diagnosed diabetes or whose blood test of HbA1c >= 6.5% are identified as diabetic. Respondents who are diabetic are further categorized into: controlled, undiagnosed and uncontrolled diabetic groups. Results from logistic regression models suggest that an increase in positive marital quality may reduce the subsequent risk of diabetes for women. Surprisingly, for men, an increase in negative marital quality may decrease the subsequent risk of diabetes and also increase the chance of successful control of diabetes after its onset.

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Presented in Session 159: Marriage Instability, Union Dissolution, and Aging Health