When they said their wedding vows, many of them promised to stand by one another in sickness and in health.
But a new study suggests that as married couples age and develop chronic conditions, the daily demands of coping with their own health demands and those of their spouse may take a mental toll.
Depression symptoms increased over time among married men and women who themselves had two or more chronic conditions that need different types of self-care — such as a special diet and medications for heart disease or diabetes along with pain-reducing therapy for arthritis.
When husbands and wives both had chronic health conditions, and needed different kinds of self-care from their partners, husbands fared worse. Their depression symptoms were significantly higher, but this effect was not found for wives.