Gender and relationship quality later in life: remarriage, cohabitation and non-cohabiting relationships

Alisa C. Lewin, University of Haifa

Cohabitation and living apart together (LAT) provide a combination of long-term intimate relationships with high levels of social and financial independence. This study asks whether this independence commands a price and whether this price differs by gender. Drawing from the first wave of the National Social Life Health & Aging Project (NSHAP) 2005-2006, this study compares happiness, commitment, and support in remarriages, cohabitations and non-cohabiting romantic relationships among older adults in the United States (n=751). The findings show that remarried people have happier relationships and rely on their partner more than people in non-cohabiting relationships in everyday life and in times of crisis. In terms of independence, the findings suggest that independence commands a price, and the price is somewhat higher for men. With the increase in longevity and with more older Americans living in non-marital relationships, these findings have important implications for the study of well-being among the elderly.

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Presented in Poster Session 2

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