Impact of Upper and Lower Body Functional Ability on Affect in Older Couples

Allison R. Heid, Maureen Wilson-Genderson, Rachel Pruchno, Francine P. Cartwright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We explore how upper and lower body functional ability of older adults and their partners relate to affect in later life. Methods: Data regarding own and partner’s upper and lower body functional abilities were reported by 1767 married/partnered persons aged 57–83. Using multilevel modeling to account for nesting within couples, we examined the impact of a respondent’s own functional abilities, their perception of their partner’s abilities, and the interaction of respondent’s and perceived partner’s abilities on respondent’s positive and negative affect. Results: Higher upper and lower body ability of both respondents and partners were associated with higher positive and lower negative affect. Moderating effects demonstrated a protective role of respondents’ ability on affect when their partners experienced lower ability. Discussion: There is a potential compensatory relationship between older couples adapting to functional changes; it is important to support the functional abilities of both partners in couples to maximize psychological well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)931-940
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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