Partner Characteristics and the Initiation and Maintenance of Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Rachel Margolis, University of Pennsylvania
This project extends the literature on how marital relationships affect health by highlighting several possible mechanisms through which partnership and spousal characteristics are correlated with lifestyle, chronic disease management, and health outcomes. I use the Health and Retirement Study to explore the relationship between partnership characteristics, gender, and three aspects of health behavior changes and trajectories. I explore whether marital status and partners' characteristics are associated with the probability of making a healthy lifestyle change upon diagnosis with a new chronic condition for which behavior change is important for disease management. Second, I examine the probability of healthy lifestyle changes upon a spouses' diagnosis with a new chronic condition. Third, I examine whether marital status and partners' characteristics are associated with adherence to healthy lifestyle changes, once initiated. Last, I explore whether these three changes differ by gender.