Dyadic Effects of Resilience on Well-Being in Chinese Older Couples: Mediating Role of Spousal Support

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Concerning the interdependence of married couples, the strengths of not only actors but also of partners might improve aging successfully. This study aimed to examine the actor and partner effects of resilience on well-being in Chinese older couples and the potential mediating role of spousal exchanges at the actor and partner levels. Using a 2-wave longitudinal design, a total of 158 Chinese couples (age range 60–97 years) completed measures of resilience, perceived spousal exchanges (spousal support and negative exchanges), and well-being. The results showed that (a) the dyad had significant congruence in resilience and well-being, respectively; (b) resilience had significant actor and partner effects on well-being within the dyad; and (c) negative spousal exchanges could not mediate the actor and partner effects of resilience on well-being, and a gender difference emerged for the mediation role of spousal support: Actor and partner effects of husbands’ resilience on well-being were mediated by both partners’ perceived spousal support, whereas the actor and partner effects of wives’ resilience on well-being were not mediated by perceived spousal support. Focusing on couples’ interdependence, this study highlighted the role of spousal resilience and support on successful aging. Interventions should focus on enhancing both partners’ resilience and promoting mutual support within the couple.

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