Until death do us part: The codevelopment of life satisfaction in couples preceding the death of one partner

Wünsche, Jenna and Weidmann, Rebekka and Grob, Alexander. (2020) Until death do us part: The codevelopment of life satisfaction in couples preceding the death of one partner. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119 (4). pp. 881-900.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/73804/

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This work aims to integrate previous research perspectives on terminal well-being decline and partner bereavement by investigating the codevelopment of life satisfaction in the years preceding the death of one partner. We analyzed longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (N 1,450 couples) and applied dyadic multilevel models to estimate both partners' trajectories of life satisfaction and to reveal the pathways of well-being transmission in couple members approaching [partner] death. Findings were compared with a propensity-score-matched control sample of couples in which neither partner died during the study. We found that to-be-deceased and to-be-bereaved partners experienced increasing disparities in their trajectories of life satisfaction in the years before [partner] death: Although both partners exhibited significant and accelerated declines in life satisfaction, these declines were more pronounced in to-be-deceased individuals. In the control sample, we also identified significant and accelerated declines in life satisfaction but these declines were less intense and they did not differ between partners. Regarding between-partner correlations, we observed that couples approaching [part- ner] death experienced weaker interdependencies in their declines of life satisfaction. Finally, and concerning the pathways of well-being transmission, we found that life satisfaction was significantly transmitted between partners and the strength of this effect did not differ between the samples. These findings suggest that the years before [partner] death are characterized by distinctive patterns of change and interdependence in life satisfaction. Future studies may explore the sources of increasing between- partner disparities in life satisfaction in an end-of-life relationship context.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Society & Choice > Entwicklungs- und Persönlichkeitspsychologie (Grob)
UniBasel Contributors:Grob, Alexander and Weidmann, Rebekka and Wuensche, Jenna
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:American Psychological Association
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Identification Number:
Last Modified:22 Dec 2020 11:02
Deposited On:22 Dec 2020 11:00

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