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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2009 Mar;64(2):212-21. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbp006. Epub 2009 Mar 12.

Self-rated health and depressive symptoms in patients with end-stage renal disease and their spouses: a longitudinal dyadic analysis of late-life marriages.

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New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 42 East Laurel Road, Suite 2300, Stratford, NJ 08084, USA.


Limited research has examined the ways in which changes in self-rated health experienced by aging spouses affect depressive symptoms of both members of the dyad. Longitudinal data from 315 older couples in which one partner had end-stage renal disease were analyzed using multilevel modeling. Results indicate that for both patients and spouses, own mean self-rated health was associated with own depressive symptoms, and change in self-rated health had a significant negative association with change in own depressive symptoms. Both mean self-rated health of the patient and change in patient's self-rated health had negative relationships with spouse depressive symptoms, with changes in patient's self-rated health having a stronger impact on spouse depressive symptoms than changes in spouse's own self-rated health. Results suggest the importance of understanding physical and mental health in the context of the marital dyad.

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