The effects of involuntary job losses on depressive symptoms among couples

TitleThe effects of involuntary job losses on depressive symptoms among couples
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsVega, A, Baranowska-Rataj, A
Series TitleCEDAR Working Papers
Document Number2021:5
InstitutionCentre for Demographic and Ageing Research, Umeå University
CityUmeå, Sweden
KeywordsCouples, Depressive symptoms, Job loss

The way job loss affects mental health within couples attracts increasing attention.While previous studies focused on the working-age population, this paper investigateshow job loss affects spouses’ depressive symptoms in later life. We focus on spousesaged 50 or older, who represent a vulnerable segment of the labor market, and whoalso have a high prevalence of depressive symptoms.We use data from the Health and Retirement Study, which provides longitudinalinformation about changes in labor market status and mental health outcomes amongrespondents and their spouses in the United States. To deal with potential reversecausality problems, we utilize data on job loss resulting from business closures. Wefind that job loss may affect the levels of depressive symptoms among the spouses ofolder adults who experience these adverse life course events. The effects aregendered, as women are negatively affected by job losses experienced by theirhusbands, but we do not observe such harmful effects among men whose wives losetheir jobs. We also show how the effects of job loss vary across couples with differinglevels of economic resources and health care needs, as well as differential access to health care.

Citation Key11449