Relationships between negative exchanges and depressive symptoms in older couples: The moderating roles of care and gender

Published on 2019-10-14T12:06:18Z (GMT) by
<div><p>Marital relationships have a significant impact on older adults’ well-being. However, when contending with spousal illness or disability, negative exchanges may be particularly detrimental. This study examines the extent to which negative spousal exchanges have more impact on caregiving versus non-caregiving couples. Using dyadic analyses, this investigation compares three different groups consisting of (a) couples who did not provide or receive care, (b) couples in which husbands received care from their wives, and (c) couples in which wives received care from their husbands. We tested for gender differences in the effect of negative exchanges on depressive symptoms among caregivers and care recipients. Based on the 2012 and 2014 Health and Retirement Study, the sample consisted of 3,530 couples in which at least one of the spouses was aged 51 or over. Structural equation modeling was used to test the moderating effects of care and gender. Sociodemographic characteristics were included as control variables. Results indicated that there were significant differences in the magnitude of the path between negative exchanges and depressive symptoms across the subgroups. Among husbands, there was a stronger relationship between negative exchanges and depressive symptoms for care-receiving husbands than for caregiving husbands or husbands in non-caregiving relationships. Among wives, however, there was no significant difference in the path from negative exchanges with spouses to depressive symptoms across care status. We also found gender differences in the effect of negative exchanges on depressive symptoms among caregivers, but not among care recipients. Findings suggest that care status and gender of caregivers and care recipients have significant effects on the association between negative interactions within couples and mental health outcomes.</p></div>

Cite this collection

Kwak, Minyoung; Ingersoll-Dayton, Berit (2019): Relationships between negative exchanges and depressive symptoms in older couples: The moderating roles of care and gender. SAGE Journals. Collection. https://doi.org/10.25384/SAGE.c.4697111.v1