Courtney Allyn Polenick photo

Multimorbidity Patterns in Aging Couples: Longitudinal Associations with Functional Disability

a MiCDA Pilot Project Description

Investigators: Courtney Allyn Polenick, Kira Birditt

Funding: Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging, 2017-2018

The proposed project will draw 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.

Research Signature Theme:

Health and well-being in later life: Life Course Determinants