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The Gerontologist 46:258-265 (2006)
© 2006 The Gerontological Society of America

Well-Being in Older Mexican American Spouses

M. Kristen Peek, PhD1, Jim P. Stimpson, PhD2, Aloen L. Townsend, PhD3 and Kyriakos S. Markides, PhD1

Correspondence: Address all correspondence to M. Kristen Peek, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Blvd., Route 1153, Galveston TX 77555-1153. E-mail: mkpeek{at}

Purpose: There is a strong connection between marriage and well-being, with evidence suggesting that the well-being of one spouse is closely correlated with that of the other. However, among older Mexican Americans, there is little information about this phenomenon. To address this, we explore two research questions: Does one spouse's well-being predict the other spouse's well-being? Are there gender differences in these effects? Design and Methods: We assess information from 553 couples who participated in Wave 1 (1993–1994) of the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly. Using structural equation models, we examined three aspects of well-being among older Mexican American couples: depressive symptoms, life satisfaction, and self-rated health. Results: The findings revealed evidence of an association between the well-being of one spouse and that of the other. Specifically, the self-rated health of husbands and wives predicts that of their partners. However, there is evidence that husbands' depressive symptoms and life satisfaction influence wives' well-being, but not the reverse. Implications: The findings from this study are important because they add to the literature on the connection of well-being among spouses, point to important gender differences, focus on an understudied minority group with unique cultural characteristics, and have implications for the examination of well-being within a marriage framework.

Key Words: Marriage • Mexican American • Gender • Mental health

All GSA journals Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Copyright © 2006 by The Gerontological Society of America.