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Receipt of Care and Depressive Symptoms in Later Life: The Importance of Self-Perceptions of Aging

Publication Abstract

Kwak, Minyoung, Berit Ingersoll-Dayton, and Sarah Burgard. 2014. "Receipt of Care and Depressive Symptoms in Later Life: The Importance of Self-Perceptions of Aging." Journals of Gerontology B: Psychological and Social Sciences, 69(2): 325-335.

Objectives. This study examines the extent to which self-perceptions of aging and perceived loss of control explain the relationship between the receipt of care and depressive symptoms among older adults.

Methods. The sample consists of individuals aged 51 and older from the 2006, 2008, and 2010 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (n = 5,938). Structural equation modeling was used to test an analytic model that focused on the mediating effects of self-perceptions of aging and perceived loss of control. The respondents' demographic and health characteristics and depressive symptoms at baseline were included as control variables.

Results. The results indicated that self-perceptions of aging mediated the relationship between receipt of care and depressive symptoms. That is, older adults who received a greater amount of care perceive their aging more negatively, which, in turn, increased depressive symptoms 2 years later. However, perceived loss of control did not significantly mediate the relationship between the receipt of care and depressive symptoms.

Discussion. These findings suggest that the receipt of care may make frail older adults more vulnerable to negative self-perceptions of aging.

DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbt128 (Full Text)

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