Effects of positive and negative social exchanges with various sources on depressive symptoms in younger and older adults

Morris A. Okun, Verna M. Keith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

163 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Addressing a previous gap in the gerontological literature, the present study examined the effects of both positive and negative social exchanges within key relationships (spouse, children, and other relatives/friends) on the depressive symptoms of younger (28 to 59 years old) and older (60 to 92 years old) men and women. Separate analyses were carried out on younger adults (N = 452) and older adults (N = 849) who were respondents in the Americans' Changing Lives study. In both age groups, positive and negative social exchanges with the same source were significantly (p < .001), inversely related (rs range from -.23 to -.43); and positive social exchanges exerted stronger net effects on depressive symptoms than negative social exchanges. For older adults, some buffering effects were found when negative and positive social exchanges were associated with different sources; for younger adults, buffering effects were found when negative and positive social exchanges were associated with the same source. These buffering effects were not conditioned by gender. The findings of the present study highlight the importance of taking into account the age of the recipient and the provider-recipient relationship when studying the joint influence of negative and positive social exchanges on adults' depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume53
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

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Young Adult
Depression
young adult
Spouses
recipient
Age Groups
Joints
spouse
age group
gender
Surveys and Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Aging
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

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