In this article, the authors evaluate the knowledge of older spouses regarding each others' self-care practices and perceptions of their associated importance. Self-reports of customary self-care practices and proxy reports for the spouse were obtained from a convenience sample of 20 community-dwelling senior couples. Percent agreement was used for comparisons. Proxy-spouse agreement rates were lower than test-retest agreement and higher than agreement between random male-female dyads. Agreement rates were higher when couples were more similar. Wives were more reliable proxies than husbands, and proxies tended to overestimate the importance of self-care. A spouse can serve as an informant regarding self-care practices when self-report is not available. However, responses are subject to a degree of bias, because partners seem influenced by their own preferences in providing a proxy report, especially with respect to the importance of self-care.
- Older adults
- Proxy accuracy