Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Ron Werner-Wilson

Second Advisor

Dr. Amy Kostelic


The roles of sexual satisfaction, relationship quality, and cognitive functioning within older adults (N = 538) intimate relationships are assessed at two timepoints over an 11-year timeframe. Longitudinal data from 63 older adults are assessed through a path modeling approach to examine how sexual satisfaction and relationship quality change throughout older adulthood. Cross-sectional data for 538 older adults are utilized to examine the association between cognitive health and sexual satisfaction/relationship quality. Qualitative data from 125 older adults are utilized to understand how older adults describe their intimate relationships. Results from path models demonstrate that one’s degree of sexual satisfaction statistically predicts their sexual satisfaction 11 years later, but one’s degree of sexual satisfaction does not statistically predict their relationship quality 11 years later. Sexual satisfaction and relationship quality were not statistically different among those who were cognitively normal versus those who were cognitively impaired at the time of survey completion. Results from qualitative inquiry indicate that there was a positivity bias in the way in which older adults describe their intimate relationships. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging Grant (no. P30 AG028383) in 2020.