Multimorbidity Patterns in Aging Couples: Longitudinal Associations with Functional Disability
Collaborators: Courtney A. Polenick (PI), Kira S. Birditt
Funding: Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging (MiCDA) and National Institute on Aging
Project Period: 7/2017 – 6/2018
Description: The project draws on data from ten waves (1996 to 2014) of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), including both members of the spousal dyad. We will examine patterns of multimorbidity both within and between spouses, focusing on concordance in the management activities required by multiple conditions. We will examine three specific areas of inquiry: First, we will evaluate long-term associations between aging couples’ multimorbidity patterns and each spouse’s functional disability. Second, we will determine whether these associations are exacerbated when one or both partners report elevated depressive symptoms. Third, to enhance limited understanding of sociodemographic health disparities in multimorbidity, we will explore the moderating effects of age, gender, race, education, and income. This project will yield critical knowledge about combinations of chronic conditions that may have enduring effects on health and functioning in aging couples.