Changes in depressive symptoms from pre- to postretirement over a 20-year span: The role of self-perceptions of aging

TitleChanges in depressive symptoms from pre- to postretirement over a 20-year span: The role of self-perceptions of aging
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsLuo, MSha, Li, L
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
ISBN Number0165-0327
KeywordsAge stereotypes, Ageism, attitude toward aging, depression, psychological well-being

Background Retirement-related changes in depressive symptoms are not clear. This research examined short- and long-term changes in older adults’ depressive symptoms before, upon, and after retirement. It also tested if and how changes in depressive symptoms varied by different levels of negative self-perceptions of aging (nSPA) in men and women. Methods We analyzed longitudinal data from individuals who retired between 1994 and 2016 in the Health and Retirement Study (N = 9027). Using fixed-effect regression models, we examined changes in depressive symptoms from the 10-year preretirement phase through the 10-year postretirement phase. We also examined how changes in depressive symptoms during the retirement transition varied across four groups: low nSPA men, low nSPA women, high nSPA men, and high nSPA women. Results Both male and female retirees experienced increased short- and long-term depressive symptoms after retirement. However, the pattern of change varied by nSPA and gender. For both low nSPA men and women, there were no significant changes in depressive symptoms across different retirement phases. Adults with high nSPA showed important changes in depressive symptoms, but there were gender differences—High nSPA men experienced increases in depressive symptoms mainly in preretirement years and during the year of retirement; high nSPA women experienced symptoms increase during the year of retirement and the years after retirement. Limitations The use of self-report measures may lead to recall bias. Studies are needed to understand mechanisms behind the protective role of low nSPA.ConclusionsThe findings attest to the health benefits of low nSPA during later-life stages.

Citation Key11658