Marital Biography and Mobility Limitations among Individuals with Diabetes in Older Ages

Yan-Liang Yu, Michigan State University

This study uses the RAND HRS Version N data file to examine the association between marriage and functional health after being diagnosed with diabetes in mid- and late life. The focal respondents are newly diagnosed cases with diabetes from 1992 to 2012. I track how their functional health varies by union status and current marriage duration over the life course from 1994 to 2012. The analysis shows that first-time marrieds fare significantly better than the remarried, divorced/separated and widowed in functional health after being diagnosed with diabetes, suggesting that marriage continues to protect health in diseases but the protective effect is conditional on past marital dissolution. While the remarried and the divorced/separated consistently fare worse over time, the widowed become increasingly more disadvantaged throughout the life course. Longer years in marriage is associated with fewer functional limitations but a steeper decline in functional health over time.

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