Depression in Later Life: The Impact of Early Stressors, Marital Status and Later Life Circumstances

Yumiko Kamiya, United Nations
Martha Doyle, Trinity College Dublin
John C. Henretta, University of Florida
Virpi Timonen, Trinity College Dublin

This paper examines the impact of early and later life circumstances on depression among people aged 65 and over in Ireland and how how this relationship is mediated by gender and marital status differentials. Data are from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), a nationally representative sample of 8,504 adults aged 50 years and older. A series of nested models were estimated to evaluate which childhood and adulthood circumstances are associated with depressive symptoms. Marital status and gender are significant predictors of depression in later life. The impact of marital status is attenuated when early and later life events are considered. Ill health in childhood and later life, and income in later life are strongly associated with depression in later life. Our findings highlight the possibility of over- or underestimating the effect of health, education and marital status in studies of depression which do not consider early life circumstances.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 2