Spousal influence on general health behaviors in a community sample

Am J Health Behav. Nov-Dec 2008;32(6):754-63. doi: 10.5555/ajhb.2008.32.6.754.


Objective: To examine if one partner's premarital health behavior was longitudinally associated with his or her partner's health behaviors.

Methods: Newlyweds were assessed at marriage and at 3 follow-ups with respect to frequency of general health behaviors: exercise, physical examinations, and healthy and unhealthy eating.

Results: One partner's health behavior prior to marriage was associated with the other partner's health behavior over time. This was true for positive and negative behaviors for both men and women.

Conclusions: Understanding how partners influence each other's health behaviors is important for health promotion and intervention efforts. Targeting the couple for health promotion activities could benefit the couple more than simply targeting individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Love
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Physical Examination
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Spouses / psychology*