|Self-perceptions of aging and depressive symptoms: the mediating role of loneliness.
|Year of Publication
|Segel-Karpas, D, Cohn-Schwartz, E, Ayalon, L
|Aging & Mental Health
|Depressive symptoms, Loneliness, self-perceptions of aging
Depression is a major health concern for both individuals and societies. Hence, understanding the risk factors for depression is of importance. As individuals grow older, the way in which they perceive the aging process may have a significant influence on their physical and mental health. More negative perceptions of aging could put individuals at risk for social withdrawal, causing loneliness and resulting in higher levels of depressive symptoms. We use the Health and Retirement Survey, a large and longitudinal dataset spanning over a period of 8 years, to examine a model in which loneliness mediates the relationship between self-perceptions of aging and depressive symptoms. Our findings suggest that loneliness indeed mediates the relationship between self-perceptions of aging and depressive symptoms. The results highlight to the importance of the way people view the aging process in shaping their social and mental well-being. Practitioners may want to address self-perceptions of aging when helping older adults cope with loneliness and depressive symptoms.