|Childlessness, Parenthood, and Depressive Symptoms Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults
|Year of Publication
|Bures, RM, Koropeckyj-Cox, T, Loree, M
|Journal of Family Issues
|Adult children, Health Conditions and Status, Methodology
Prior research has examined whether parenthood is associated with higher levels of well-being among older adults, but definitions of parental status have varied. The authors examine links between parental status and depressive symptoms among older adults, comparing biological and social definitions of parenthood. The study finds few differences between biological and social parenthood but substantial variation in the relationship between parental status and depressive symptoms by gender and marital status. Biologically and socially childless adults had the lowest predicted levels of depression across all marital status groups. Widowed men averaged higher levels of depression than other men. For women, the highest predicted levels of depressive symptoms were observed among never-married biological parents and formerly married women who had outlived their children. Increased sampling of less common parental subgroups and diverse kinship relations to allow for more precise classifications and the consideration of joint marital parental statuses in future research.
childlessness/depressive symptoms/measurement/parental status