For Better or Worse: an Assessment of the ‘Linked Lives’ Concept and the Race-Based Effects of Partner Stress on Self-Rated Health Among Older Adults

  • Myles D. MoodyEmail author
  • Robyn L. Brown
  • Gabriele Ciciurkaite



The purpose of this study was to assess the utility of the life course framework concept of “linked lives” for examining the effects of partner stress on self-rated health among older adult populations.


Data were derived from a partner-dyad study of Miami-Dade County residents and their significant others. We limited our analysis to respondents ages 60 or older (n = 409).


Regression analyses revealed that greater levels of personally experienced major life events were associated with worse self-rated health. However, the association between a significant other’s stress exposure and one’s own self-rated health was only statistically significant among Black respondents.


Extending prior study indicating that Black Americans tend to have worse self-rated health later in life relative to other racial groups, these findings demonstrate the utility of the linked lives concept for furthering an understanding of racial disparities in health based upon loved ones’ stressful experiences.


Self-rated health Stress Race/ethnicity Life course Linked lives Older populations 



The authors received the following financial support for the research and/authorship of this article: project supported by grants R01DA13292 and R01DA16429 from NIDA.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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