Gender differences in the longitudinal association between husbands' and wives' depressive symptoms among Korean older adults: the moderating effects of the spousal relationship

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Abstract

Purpose: The mutual effects of depressive symptoms between couples have long been reported; however, it remains unknown whether the spousal concordance in depressive symptoms differs depending on spousal relationships. Method: Data on 291 married couples from the Korean Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (KSHAP) were examined. The KSHAP collected global network data from the target population living in one Korean village over eight years and across five waves. A seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) model in the panel data was employed to address correlations and heterogeneity. Results: If one spouse (husband or wife) had depressive symptoms, the other spouse tended to have depressive symptoms. However, the effect of marital relations on spousal concordance in depressive symptoms was different among husbands and wives. This study demonstrated both spousal support and spousal network aspects of spousal relationships. Depression concordance was stronger for couples with more negative marital relationship. A supportive marital relationship was associated with less concordance between spouses’ depressive symptoms for wives but not for husbands. Spousal network overlap was associated with less depression concordance for husbands; however, for wives, spousal network overlap was directly associated with more depressive symptoms and did not mediate the association with depression concordance. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that approaches to supporting older adults dealing with mental health disorders may involve support at both the individual and couple levels. Gender-specific strategies could also be devised to improve the mental well-being of the older population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQuality of Life Research
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2017S1A3A2067165) and the Yonsei University Research Grant of 2020.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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