Does Informal Care Mediate the Association between Functional Disability and Depression?
I-Fen Lin, Bowling Green State University
Hsueh-Sheng Wu, Bowling Green State University
The study provides a longitudinal examination of the mediating effect of informal care on the association between functional disability and depression among community-dwelling older adults. This study answers four questions: (1) whether functional disability mobilizes or exhausts informal care, (2) whether informal care, once mobilized, reduces or increases depression, (3) whether depression mobilizes or exhausts informal care, and (4) whether informal care, once mobilized, reduces or increases disability. This study uses five-wave panel data from the Health and Retirement Study that follows a nationally representative sample of older adults for a decade. Results show that informal care from spouses and unrelated others reinforces the effect of disability on depression, whereas the receipt of care from spouses and adult children reinforces the effect of depression on disability. The role of informal care as a mediator between functional disability and depression does not remain constant over time, nor does its effect.
Presented in Session 29: Marriage in Later Life