I use hazard regression methods to examine how the age difference between spouses affects their survival. In many countries, the age difference between spouses at marriage has remained relatively stable for several decades. In Denmark, men are, on average, about three years older than the women they marry. Most of the observed effects could not be explained satisfactorily until now, mainly because of methodological drawbacks and insufficiency of the data. The most common explanations refer to selection effects, caregiving in later life, and some positive psychological and sociological effects of having a younger spouse. The present study extends earlier work by using longitudinal Danish register data that include the entire history of key demographic events of the whole population from onward. Controlling for confounding factors such as education and wealth, results suggest that having a younger spouse is beneficial for men but detrimental for women, while having an older spouse is detrimental for both sexes. In recent years, the search for a single determinant of lifespan, such as a single gene or the decline of a key body system, has been superseded by a new view Weinert and Timiras Lifespan is now seen as an outcome of complex processes with causes and consequences in all areas of life, in which different factors affect the individual lifespan simultaneously.
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