The current times make it difficult to sustain meaningful intimate interpersonal relationships. Now, imagine that your social network and your personal attachments to loved ones improve your well-being and life satisfaction. Recent research indicates that not just the quantity but rather the quality of your attachments in particular to intimate partners is able to predict welfare in later life. Secure relationships are found to promote emotional as well as cognitive well-being in late-life development. The Study by R.J. Waldinger et al. investigated the structure of attachment security to partners and the effects on cognitive functioning and well-being over 2.5 years by interviewing 162 elderly individuals (81 partners) at the beginning of the study and 2.5 years later. The support given by spouses and the built security between partners is found to promote greater mental and emotional well-being, memory functioning, mood and marital satisfaction. Yet next to those positive effects, the study also presented that a secure attachment to intimate partners seems to reduce depressive symptoms at later times.
Overall, it can be concluded that a secure attachment in intimate relationships promotes well-being in late-life development and can buffer for detrimental effects on cognition induced by marital conflict or other stressors occurring in daily life. Healthy relationships hence constitute an opportunity to invest into a healthier, more satisfying future.
Waldinger, R. J., Cohen, S., Schulz, M. S., & Crowell, J. A. (2015). Security of attachment to spouses in late life: Concurrent and prospective links with cognitive and emotional well-being. Clinical Psychological Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702614541261