Friendship and depression among couples in later life: The moderating effects of marital quality.

TitleFriendship and depression among couples in later life: The moderating effects of marital quality.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsHan, SHwang, Kim, K, Burr, JA
JournalJournals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Date Published2017 Apr 26
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsDepressive symptoms, Marriage, Social Relationships

Objectives: The aims of the study were to examine within-person associations between social interactions with friends (one's own and partner's) and depressive symptoms over time among couples in later life and to investigate whether marital quality moderated the associations.

Methods: We used longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study (2004-2012) to examine a sample of coupled individuals (dyad N = 6,833). Dyadic growth curve models were employed to test the study hypotheses.

Results: Results indicated that more frequent social interactions with friends were associated with fewer depressive symptoms of individuals and there were cross-spousal effects for this association. Further, marital quality moderated the within-person association between social interaction with friends and depressive symptoms such that the association was stronger for individuals experiencing poor marital quality compared to those with better marital quality.

Discussion: Friendship is an important contributor to individuals' mental health in later life, with its benefits having far-reaching consequences for one's significant other. The implications of friendship interactions for other health domains also require investigation within the marital context.

User Guide Notes

Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Citation Key9082
PubMed ID28449135