For Better or Worse? Couples’ Time Together in Encore Adulthood

Katherine R Genadek, Sarah M Flood, Phyllis Moen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations



This study examined the amount of time married couples share together in a new "encore adult" life course stage around the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Also investigated was the relationship between shared time and experienced well-being for this age group.

Time diary and survey data were used from nationally representative 2003-2014 American Time Use Survey (ATUS) data for 26,303 adults aged 50-79 years. Analyses examined amount of total and exclusive shared couple time and experiences of happiness and stress when together using multivariate models.

Shared time was positively associated with couples living on their own, conjoint employment/nonemployment, and age. Encore women and men reported feeling happier and less stressed when with their spouses. Men seemed to find time with spouses more enjoyable if both partners or just their wives were working.

Encore adults are living longer as couples; results suggest couple relationships may occupy most of their days, with potentially positive implications for emotional well-being. Men and women are happier during time with a spouse when the woman works, with men reporting even higher levels of happiness than women. This is important as contemporary couples navigate increasingly complex work/retirement transitions in gendered ways.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
Pages (from-to)329
Number of pages338
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


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