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Although research on “crossover effects” ( Larson & Almeida, 1999 ) suggests that one spouse’s marital (dis)satisfaction may be linked with their partner’s emotional well-being, such studies typically focus on young or midlife persons ( Beach, Katz, Kim, & Brody, 2003 ; Whisman, Uebelacker & Weinstock, 2004 ).
Second, most research on the psychosocial correlates of older adult’s emotional well-being focuses on broad aspects of positive and negative well-being such as global life satisfaction or depressive symptoms rather than specific discrete emotions such as frustration or anxiety ( Perry, Chipperfield, Weiner, & Chuchmach, 1997 ).
Worry is a core symptom of anxiety, or feelings of uncertainty and concern about a real or imagined threat ( Horwitz, 2014 ).
We expect that worry and sadness will be positively related to marital strain and inversely related to emotional support from one’s spouse, consistent with prior studies of marital interactions and emotional well-being ( Proulx et al., 2007 ).
We propose that sadness, worry, and frustration may be linked to marital quality in distinctive ways.
Sadness is a core component of depressed affect, which encompasses feelings of sorrow, despair, or hopelessness ( Horwitz & Wakefield, 2007 ).
Frustration is a less frequently studied emotional state, yet it may be particularly relevant to understanding the well-being of older married adults.
A database search of all articles on aging and emotion published between 19 found that several hundred focused on global life satisfaction and depressed affect, yet fewer than five articles explored particular discrete emotions such as frustration or worry ( Perry et al., 1997 ).We expect stronger effects for wives than husbands, consistent with prior work showing that women find relationship strains more upsetting than do men ( Kiecolt-Glaser & Newton, 2001 ).Current cohorts of older women may feel responsible for sustaining the emotional climate of one’s marriage, thus marital strain may be particularly salient to their emotional well-being ( Beach et al., 2003 ).Own reports of marital support are associated with negative emotion among husbands only: higher levels of marital support are associated with less worry.Results from partner effects analyses also are mixed.