This article was originally published here
J Aging Health. 2021 Jun 11:8982643211025381. doi: 10.1177/08982643211025381. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether the association between non-spousal support and mortality risk differs by marital status.
METHODS: Using data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (N = 2460), we estimate a series of logistic regression models to assess how non-spousal support moderates the relationship between marital status and mortality across a 5-year period.
RESULTS: Never married respondents who had minimal perceived access to non-spousal support had a greater probability of death compared to married respondents with similar levels of non-spousal support. The disparity in mortality risk between these two groups disappeared when non-spousal support was high.
DISCUSSION: Although family and friends play an important role in mortality risk in later life, these findings suggest that never married older adults exhibit a heightened dependence on support from non-spousal sources. Future research and policies should explore ways in which never married older adults can be integrated into a supportive social environment.