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Psychol Aging. 1991 Jun;6(2):190-201.

Social support, stress, and depressive symptoms among the elderly: test of a process model.

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Center for Health Services Research, College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242.


Effects of social support, negative life events, and daily hassles on depressive symptoms were assessed in 301 adults aged 65 or older, in person 3 times at 6-month intervals and by mail questionnaires every month over a 12-month period. Initial social support predicted severity of depressive symptoms 12 months later. Social support and initial levels of depressive symptomatology predicted number of daily hassles but not number of major life events. Effects of social support, depression, and major life events on the incidence of daily hassles remained significant without the inclusion of hassles reflecting depressive symptomatology or problems in relationships or whose content overlapped with major life events. Daily hassles mediated the effects of major life events on subsequent depression. Results did not differ for men and women. Implications for models of the relations among social support, stress, and depression are discussed.

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