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Birditt KS, Turkelson A, Polenick CA, Cranford JA, Blow FC. Alcohol Use and Blood Pressure Among Older Couples: The Moderating Role of Negative Marital Quality. The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences. 2022 Sep 1; 77(9):1592-1602.
OBJECTIVES: Spouses often have concordant drinking behaviors and important influences on one another''s cardiovascular health. However, little is known about the implications of dyadic drinking patterns for blood pressure, and the marital factors that confer risk or resilience. This article examined links between alcohol use and blood pressure within individuals and opposite-sex couples over time, and whether those links vary by negative marital quality among older adults. METHODS: Participants were from the nationally representative longitudinal Health and Retirement Study that included 4,619 respondents in 2,682 opposite-sex couples who participated in at least 2 of the waves from 2006 to 2016. Participants reported the number of drinks they typically consume per week, negative marital quality, and had their blood pressure measured via a cuff. RESULTS: Analyses revealed that greater drinking was associated with increased systolic blood pressure among both husbands and wives. Furthermore, husbands who drank more had higher blood pressure when wives drank more alcohol, whereas there was no association between husbands'' drinking and blood pressure when wives drank less alcohol. Interactions with negative marital quality showed that drinking concordance may be associated with increased blood pressure over time in more negative marriages. DISCUSSION: Findings indicated that spousal drinking concordance, although often associated with positive marital quality, may have negative long-term health effects.