Interpartner Health Links From a Dyadic Perspective: A Comparison of Different-Sex Married, Different-Sex Cohabiting, and Same-Sex Couples in the National Health Interview Survey

Yan-Liang Yu , Howard University

The current study used dyadic data to compare self-reported health concordance among different-sex married, different-sex cohabiting and same-sex unions. Data were pooled from the National Health Interview Survey, 1997-2017. A total of 441,528 couples were identified (394,199 different-sex marriages, 43,556 different-sex cohabiting unions and 3,773 same-sex partnerships). Results from the actor-partner interdependence models showed significant difference in health concordance by union types. Consistent with the theoretical expectations, same-sex and different-sex cohabiting unions showed significantly weaker interpartner health concordance than different-sex marriages, but this difference primarily existed among men. There was no significant difference in health concordance between women in different-sex marriages and those in lesbian unions while women in different-sex cohabiting unions showed a stronger health concordance than their counterparts in different-sex marriages. Findings from this study challenge the heteronormative assumption of gender role specialization underpinning the relationship between heterosexual marriages and health.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 9. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions; Gender, Race, & Ethnicity