Functional limitations and depressive symptoms: A longitudinal analysis of older Mexican American couples

Maria A. Monserud, Mary Peek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Objectives. This study extends previous work on longitudinal patterns of spousal associations between functional impairments and psychological well-being in older couples in 3 important ways: By examining Mexican Americans, by considering a broader range of functional limitations, and by assessing the role of health status, social integration, and socioeconomic resources in these associations. Method. Drawing on data from 6 waves of the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (1993-2007), we employed growth curve models to investigate the implications of the spouse's functional limitations for the respondent's age trajectories of depressive symptoms in older Mexican American couples. Models were run separately for husbands and wives. Results. The spouse's functional limitations were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms in the respondent. Personal resources can both ameliorate and intensify the adverse implications of the spouse's functional limitations for the respondent's depressive symptomatology. The interplay among these factors can vary by gender and the type of the spouse's functional impairment. Discussion. Future studies would benefit by examining caregiving patterns in older couples, by distinguishing between different dimensions of social support available to them, and by considering changes in couples' marital quality and social ties over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-762
Number of pages20
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014



  • Couples
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Functional limitations
  • Growth curve models
  • Mexican Americans
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Medicine(all)

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