Mortality and work disability in a cohort of Norwegian couples - The HUNT study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEuropean Journal of Public Health. 2015, 25 (5), 807-814. 10.1093/eurpub/ckv121
Background: Poor health is clustered in families, and partners might influence each other. We studied possible consequences of living with a spouse with poor health or unhealthy lifestyle on mortality and work disability. Methods: In total, 18 943 couples from the HUNT2 Study (1995–97) were linked to national registries and followed until December 2007, identifying deaths and disability pension retirements. Couple’s mean exposures were included together with the individual’s deviation from the couple mean in discrete time multilevel logistic regression. Results: There was weak evidence of associations between partner’s health and risk of dying. Associations between couples slightly exceeded associations within couples for smoking [odds ratio (OR) within 1.57 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.38–1.78); OR between 1.88 (95% CI: 1.70–2.08), P value for difference 0.027] and education [OR within 1.07 (95% CI: 0.99–1.15); OR between 1.17 (1.11–1.23), P value for difference 0.065]. Indicators of partner’s health, such as self-rated health [OR within 3.17 (95% CI: 2.80–3.58); OR between 3.92 (95% CI: 3.50–4.40), P value for difference 0.014], insomnia [OR within 1.39 (95% CI: 1.18–1.64); OR between 2.11 (95% CI: 1.86–2.53), P value for difference <0.001] and symptoms of depression [OR within 1.45 (95% CI: 1.22–1.71); OR between 1.98 (95% CI: 1.69–2.31) P value for difference 0.009] were, however, associated with risk of work disability. Self-rated health and symptoms displayed stronger associations with work disability among partners than reported somatic diseases. Conclusions: This study did not indicate strong consequences of living with a spouse with poor health or unhealthy lifestyle on mortality. It did, however, indicate associations of partner’s health with work disability.