Changes in depressive symptoms during widowhood among older Mexican Americans: the role of financial strain, social support, and church attendance

Maria A. Monserud, Kyriakos Markides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study examines how depressive symptoms change during the widowhood process among older adults of Mexican descent. This research also investigates whether financial strain, social support, and church attendance moderate changes in depressive symptoms in the context of widowhood. Method: This study uses seven waves of data from the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly collected at approximately two-year intervals. This research applies multiphase growth models to examine changes in depressive symptomatology before, during, and after the transition to widowhood (the measurement wave at which spousal bereavement was first reported) among 385 older adults of Mexican descent who experienced the death of a spouse during the survey. Results: This study demonstrates that older adults of Mexican descent experienced a significant increase in depressive symptoms pre-widowhood and in particular, during the transition to widowhood. The levels and rates of changes in depressive symptoms post-widowhood did not differ from the pre-widowhood ones. Greater social support was related to more depressive symptoms during the transition to widowhood. More frequent church attendance was a protective factor against increases in depressive symptoms pre-widowhood. Conclusion: This study highlights the multiphase pattern in the effects of the widowhood process on depressive symptomatology among older adults of Mexican descent. The findings also suggest that social support and church attendance can have implications for the interplay between widowhood and depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAging and Mental Health
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2016



  • Depressive symptoms
  • older Mexican Americans
  • widowhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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