Depressive Symptoms among Elderly Men and Women Who Transition to Widowhood: Comparisons with Long Term Married and Long Term Widowed over a 10-Year Period


This study explores gender differences in mental health sequelae of transition to widowhood among old-old retirement community dwellers. Data are based on a prospective panel survey of 748 older adults (mean age~=~78) with follow-ups over a 10-year period. Mixed-effects models suggest that elderly widows and widowers experienced sharp increases of depressive symptoms subsequent to spousal loss. Men showed stable increases of depressive symptoms after widowhood whereas an inverted U-shape curve of depressive symptoms was prominent for older women. Findings indicate that women are more resilient and are better able to cope with spousal loss than are their male counterparts.

Journal of Women & Aging
Jiao Yu
Jiao Yu
Postdoctoral Associate

Aging and Life Course, Health Disparities, Machining Learning, Quantitative Methods