Surprising result in new study of marital status, gender, and frailty

April 21, 2016, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc
Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

The well-accepted association between marital status, health, and risk of functional impairment in older individuals is generally true, but a new study on frailty found unexpected, gender-specific differences. Notably, widowed women had a lower risk of frailty than did married women, according to the study published in Journal of Women's Health.

Caterina Trevisan, MD and coauthors from University of Padova and the National Research Council's Institute of Neuroscience, Padova (Italy) predicted that unmarried elderly people would have a higher risk of becoming frail than their married peers. Marital status has traditionally been associated with reduced risk of disability and death. For this study, the researchers evaluated a group of men and women >65 years of age for more than 4 years.

The authors' prediction held true for elderly men, with those never married or widowed having a higher risk of developing frailty. However, widowed women had a significantly lower risk of becoming frail than did , according to the findings reported in "Marital Status and Frailty in Older People: Gender Differences in the Progetto Veneto Anziani Longitudinal Study". The authors identify the factors contributing to frailty that were more influenced by marital status.

"This study adds to our understanding of how influences the onset of in , but reveals surprising gender-specific differences," says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women's Health.

Explore further: Research links frailty to income stress in older women

More information: Caterina Trevisan et al, Marital Status and Frailty in Older People: Gender Differences in theLongitudinal Study, Journal of Women's Health (2016). DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2015.5592

Related Stories

Research links frailty to income stress in older women

February 24, 2016
Money might not guarantee happiness, but it could buy you physical health in older age, new University of Queensland research shows.

Women of color: What we know and don't know about their unique health challenges

April 15, 2016
Women of color face both racial and gender disparities in the incidence, onset, and outcomes of diseases as diverse as cancer, cardiovascular disease, HIV infection and age-related disability. The unique health challenges ...

Being married linked to better outcomes following surgery

October 28, 2015
Among more than 1,500 adults who underwent cardiac surgery, those who were divorced, separated, or widowed were more likely to have died or develop a new functional disability after the surgery compared with the married participants, ...

Preoperative frailty associated with increased risk of death following surgery

January 20, 2016
The presence of frailty-defining diagnoses before surgery were strongly associated with an increased risk of death at one year after surgery, particularly in the early postoperative period, in younger patients, and after ...

Heart attack risk high in divorced women, even after remarrying

April 14, 2015
Divorced women suffer heart attacks at higher rates than women who are continuously married, a new study from Duke Medicine has found. A woman who has been through two or more divorces is nearly twice as likely to have a ...

Recommended for you

Research finds a little exercise does a lot of good for ageing muscles

May 24, 2018
Getting old doesn't necessarily mean getting weak and frail – just a little bit of exercise can help maintain muscle mass and strength, Otago research has revealed.

Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour

May 24, 2018
A lot can happen at 160 degrees Fahrenheit: Eggs fry, salmonella bacteria dies, and human skin will suffer third-degree burns. If a car is parked in the sun on a hot summer day, its dashboard can hit 160 degrees in about ...

In helping smokers quit, cash is king, e-cigarettes strike out

May 23, 2018
Free smoking cessation aids, such as nicotine patches and chewing gum, are a staple of many corporate wellness programs aimed at encouraging employees to kick the habit. But, new research shows that merely offering such aids ...

What makes us well? Diversity, health care, and public transit matter

May 23, 2018
Diverse neighbors. Health centers. Commuter trains. These community attributes, and other key factors, are linked to well-being and quality of life, according to Yale researchers.

Time spent sitting at a screen matters less if you are fit and strong

May 23, 2018
The impact of screen time on cardiovascular disease, cancer incidence and mortality may be greatest in people who have lower levels of grip-strength, fitness and physical activity, according to a study published in the open ...

Widely used e-cigarette flavoring impairs lung function

May 23, 2018
A new study has found that a common e-cigarette flavoring that has chemical characteristics similar to toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke disrupts an important mechanism of the lungs' antibacterial defense system. The ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.