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The Connections Between Marriage, Couple Relationships, and Health


Couple May 2012

The health benefits of marriage have been much commented on and are often misunderstood. The significance of the growing body of evidence establishing the connections is now becoming clearer. A new series of NHMRC publications address these issues in depth and are an invaluable and reliable resource for health researchers, healthcare professionals and health policy analysts and advocates. These publications comprise a unique compilation and summary of a growing body of research that has important implications for health care programs, practice, and policy. The primary focus of these resources is adult physical health issues. Recently posted documents focus especially on issues related to chronic illness and family caregiving and emerging proposals in health care reform.

A call for collaboration with spousal and family caregivers in the proposed Medicare Better Care, Lower Cost Act (S. 1932) A letter and bill recommendations to Senators Wyden and Isakson, from senior health care and family systems professionals (clinicians, researchers and educators) with special interest and expertise in chronic illness. Read more 
 
Medicare Better Care, Lower Cost Act (S. 1932): A vehicle to promote couple and family-centered, integrated care for chronically ill seniors Blog post by Matt Martin, PhD., LMFT, Theodora Ooms, MSW and Jana Staton, Ph.D.  Read more

“I’m Not Her Family Caregiver, I’m Her Husband!” Posted by Theodora Ooms and Jana Staton on the Growing MedFT blog on 7/3/2012. Too often couplehood is invisible to health care practitioners and ignored in current health care reform discussions. This blog points out the important differences between spousal and family caregiving and suggests ways to integrate a couple perspective in health care delivery.  Get Resource

Marriage and Relationship Factors in Health: Issue Brief on Implications for Improving Health Care Quality and Reducing Costs by Jana Staton PhD & Theodora Ooms, MSW. NHMRC Issue Brief. September 2011 (13 pp.) This brief summarizes the key findings and recommendations of a Wingspread conference of leading marriage and health scholars and practitioners. The broad consensus was that the extensive and growing body of research demonstrates a strong link between relationship quality and health outcomes for children, adults, and the elderly. The findings are sufficiently compelling to warrant attention from health care providers and others, and to learn what they and others can do to strengthen and support relationship connections in the course of providing health care. Emerging tools, practices, and program strategies are being tested which have the potential to strengthen current efforts to improve patient care, reduce the costs of health care, and increase the effectiveness of public health education if widely implemented. Get Resource

Happy FamilySomething Important Is Going On Here! Making Connections Between Marriage, Relationship Quality, and Health by Jana Staton PhD & Theodora Ooms, MSW. Wingspread Conference Final Report and Recommendations. September 2011 (60 pp). This report details the key research lessons, and identifies gaps and limitations that could be addressed in part by piggybacking on studies already underway. Described are new demonstrations and approaches integrating relationship education into health settings that target especially vulnerable populations (patients with chronic illness, low-income new parents, and youth).

Participants recommended that advocates for couple and family-centered health, father involvement, family caregiving, and domestic violence prevention, need to work together and take advantage of current opportunities and innovations aimed at improving health care coordination, quality, and reducing costs. The report ends by recommending educating health care professionals regarding how fostering and supporting healthy relationships can promote health and wellbeing, and including this information into public health education activities at national, state, and local levels. Get Resource

Marriage, Relationships and Health: Selected Research and Reports
This is an annotated collection of carefully selected, key research publications and program information published since 2000 exploring the connections between marriage and couple relationship quality and health outcomes, for policymakers, researchers, practitioners and the public. Read more.