Dyadic profiles of couples' self-perceptions of aging: Implications for mental health.

TitleDyadic profiles of couples' self-perceptions of aging: Implications for mental health.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsHuo, M, Kim, K
JournalPsychology and Aging
ISSN Number1939-1498
KeywordsAged, Aging, Humans, Mental Health, Resilience, Psychological, Retirement, Self Concept

The way older adults perceive their own aging processes influences their mental health, but we know little about how this occurs in a dyadic context, where spouses' perceptions and health are often intertwined. The present study sought to identify dyadic profiles of self-perceptions of aging (SPAs) in couples and examine how certain profiles are associated with each partner's mental health over time. A pooled sample of 3,850 heterosexual couples aged 50+ in the Health and Retirement Study (2012/2014) rated positive and negative SPAs and provided data on demographic characteristics, couple relationships, and health. We tracked these couples' depressive symptoms over 2 years (2014/2016). Latent profile analysis revealed five profiles of couples' SPAs: similarly positive (20%), similarly negative (6%), similarly average (38%), husband negative (20%), and wife negative (17%). Physical health and marital quality consistently differentiated couples in profile membership. Couples with similarly positive and similarly average SPAs reported the smallest increases in depressive symptoms over time, and couples with similarly negative SPAs fared worst in mental health. We observed interesting gender differences across profiles; husbands in the husband negative profile reported significantly greater increases in depressive symptoms than those in the wife negative profile. Yet, wives in these two profiles did not differ in their depressive symptoms over time, and they reported worse mental health than wives in the similarly positive and similarly average profiles. This study adds to the emerging literature that advocates for an interpersonal approach to SPAs and reveals risk and resilience in couples as they age together. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2024 APA, all rights reserved).

Citation Key13831
PubMed ID38436655