Midlife general psychopathology trajectories and later-life physical health in husbands and wives.

Objective: General psychopathology (GPP), as reflected by dimensional symptoms of depression, anxiety, and hostility, has been shown to have a persistent influence on physical health problems. Yet, little is known about longitudinal changes in GPP and the long-term GPP- physical health process within married couples over their midlater years. This study examined the multilevel influence of GPP trajectories on husbands’ and wives’ physical health problems at the couple- and individual-levels over a period of 25 years. Method: A sample of 257 husbands and wives in enduring marriages (Mean age = 40.85 and 38.81 years in 1990 for husbands and wives, respectively) in Iowa self-reported their GPP and physical health from 1990 to 2015. Latent growth curve modeling was used to investigate the influence of GPP trajectories (as higher-order latent constructs of depressive symptoms, anxiety, and hostility) during midlife (from 1990 to 2001) on physical health problems in later adulthood (2015) at both the individual- and couple-level. Results: Couple-level trajectories of GPP (husbands’ and wives’ shared trajectories of GPP) in midlife had long-term influences on couple-level health problems in later adulthood. After adjusting for this couple-level association, husbands’ and wives’ individual-specific GPP trajectories uniquely influenced their own health problems (actor effects), but no effects were found for their partners’ health problems (partner effects). Conclusions: This study demonstrates the multilevel, long-term associations between GPP and health problems for older adults in a couple context, emphasizing the value of considering both couple- and individual-level psychopathology when developing interventions targeting health outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)