Perceived neighborhood disorder, social cohesion, and depressive symptoms in spousal caregivers

Yeon Jin Choi, Jennifer A. Ailshire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Prior research into the factors linked to mental health of caregivers of older adults have largely focused on individual- or household-level characteristics, but neighborhood supports and stressors may also matter for caregiver mental health. The current study fills this knowledge gap by examining the association of neighborhood social cohesion and disorder and depressive symptoms among spousal caregivers. Method: We used data from the 2006 to 2016 waves of the Health and Retirement Study, which include 2,322 spousal caregivers. Negative binomial regression models were estimated to examine the association of perceived neighborhood social cohesion and disorder with depressive symptoms. Results: A higher level of perceived neighborhood social cohesion was associated with fewer depressive symptoms (b = –0.06, 95% CI: −0.10, −0.02). On the other hand, greater perceived neighborhood disorder was associated with more symptoms (b = 0.04, 95% CI: 0.01, 0.08). The association of perceived social cohesion with depressive symptoms remained even after controlling for perceived disorder, but neighborhood disorder was no longer associated with depressive symptoms after accounting for reported neighborhood social cohesion. Conclusions: This study suggests neighborhood supports and stressors matter for caregiver well-being. Neighborhood-based social support may be particularly important for caregivers as they navigate the challenges caregiving for an aging spouse can bring. Future studies should determine if enhancing positive characteristics of the neighborhood promotes well-being of spousal caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-61
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Depression
  • neighborhoods
  • social networks and support
  • spousal caregiving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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