Marital Discord

  • Gary R. Birchler
  • William Fals-Stewart
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)


Despite the fact that older people are reluctant to seek mental health services and tend to seek help from primary care physicians, even when their problems are psychological, there is little doubt that mental health practitioners will be called upon to treat a burgeoning number of elderly people as the graying of America continues. By the year 2000, it is estimated that approximately 20% of the population in the United States will be over age 65. The U.S. Bureau of the Census reported that in 1987, 75% of the men and 40% of the women over age 65 were married. Although most marriages of older people end because of the death of a spouse rather than through divorce, several studies of marital happiness in old age conclude that many older couples are emotionally disengaged, have poor communication skills, and are unhappy. As longevity impacts couples with major social, financial, and health-related Stressors, there is increased concern that the divorce rate among elderly couples will rise (Peterson, 1980).


Elderly Couple Marital Satisfaction Homework Assignment Dyadic Adjustment Marital Discord 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary R. Birchler
    • 1
  • William Fals-Stewart
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Department of PsychiatryUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Families and Addiction Program, Harvard Medical School, and Department of PsychiatryVeterans Affairs Medical CenterBrocktonUSA

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