Longitudinal association between marital disagreement on gender roles and inflammation markers among Korean older women and men

Junsol Kim, Seohee Lee, Yewon Yoo, Yong-Chan Kim, Hyeon Chang Kim, Yoosik Youm

Contact: junsolkim@gmail.com

Does disagreement on spouse’s gender role attitudes lead to bad health? In this study, we examine longitudinal associations between marital disagreement on gender roles and three biomarkers of inflammation (C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis-alpha (TNF-α)) among Korean older women and men. To do so, we exploit a two-wave couple-matched sample of the entire older adults residing in a Korean rural village (N = 241). In older women, an increase in couple-level disagreement on gender roles leads to an increase in IL-6 and hsCRP; this is not the case in older men. These associations are independent of sociodemographic factors, depressive symptoms, self-reported marital strain, self-reported marital support, health behaviors, and earlier inflammation markers. Our findings suggest that marital disagreement on gender role may be an important health determinant in women but only minimally in men.

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