Couples' Cognition, Intimacy, and Activity Engagement: An Actor-Partner Interdependence Model Analysis

Clin Gerontol. 2023 Oct 27:1-13. doi: 10.1080/07317115.2023.2274524. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objectives: This study examines the actor and partner effects of cognition on activity engagement and the potential mediating role of intimate relationship in older couple dyadic context.

Methods: Data for this study were obtained from heterosexual couples who participated in the 2020 wave of the Health and Retirement Study. Constructing a dyadic model of couples' cognitions, activity engagement, and intimacy using structural equation modeling to analyze the relationship between variables and mediating effects.

Results: At the actor level, cognition was positively correlated with their activity participation. At the partner level, wives' cognition and husbands' activity engagement were positively correlated. Husband's cognitive score affect wife's subjective feelings about intimacy. The mediation effect of Wife's intimacy on the relationship between husband's cognition and wife's activity engagement was significant.

Conclusions: In older couples, cognition influences activity engagement at a binary level, and this association is influenced by the level of intimacy. Improving intimacy can help increase activity engagement in older couples, which in turn promotes health. Clinical Implications Maintaining cognition helps older people enjoy good marriage and participation in activities. For women, the closer the partnership, the higher the frequency of participating in various activities.

Keywords: Activity engagement; cognition; dyadic analysis; spouse relationship.