Depression Associated With Transitions Into and Out of Spousal Caregiving

TitleDepression Associated With Transitions Into and Out of Spousal Caregiving
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsKaufman, JS, Lee, Y, Vaughon, W, Unuigbe, A, Gallo, WT
JournalThe International Journal of Aging and Human Development
Type of ArticleJournal
ISSN Number0091-4150
KeywordsCaregiving, Couples, Depressive symptoms, Transitions

This study investigates depressive symptoms among spousal caregivers in three groups: those who become caregivers, those who continue care, and those who exit caregiving, compared with those who remain non-caregivers. We also examine depressive symptoms among widowed caregivers by length of bereavement. We use four waves of the U.S. Health and Retirement Study (2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012), for a total of 43,262 observations. Findings show elevated levels of depressive symptoms for new caregivers, continuing caregivers, and exit caregivers. Among exit caregivers, symptoms were elevated when measured in the first 15 months after the spouse’s death but declined thereafter. These findings add to the evidence that spousal caregiving carries a risk for depression, and symptoms are likely to peak near the end of the caregiving episode. These results underscore the need to provide support to newly widowed individuals.

Short TitleInt J Aging Hum Dev
Citation Key9489