There is a strong link between marital status and health. What has been lacking in previous literature is the attention to health similarities or concordance in health between married adults, especially in older ethnic couples. To address the issue of health concordance, the investigators examined the extent to which blood pressure is concordant between older Mexican-American spouses. Using Wave 1 of the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiological Study of the Elderly (n=553 married couples), ordinary least squares and logistic regression were conducted to assess the degree of similarity between married adults for systolic and diastolic blood pressure (measured as an average and as percent hypertensive).
Strong associations were found between spouses for both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (correlation coefficient=0.32 and 0.34, respectively). These associations remain even when spouse age, weight, and health characteristics are included in the models. With life expectancy and the time spent in marriage increasing, examining the concordance in health between older adults becomes increasingly important to target older spouses at risk for declines in health.