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The Psychological Consequences of Multiple Roles: The Nonnormative Case

Jinkuk Hong and Marsha Mailick Seltzer
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 36, No. 4 (Dec., 1995), pp. 386-398
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137327
Page Count: 13
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The Psychological Consequences of Multiple Roles: The Nonnormative Case
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Abstract

Occupying multiple roles has been shown to be a major predictor of psychological well-being. We investigated the effects of multiple roles in the nonnormative case: a sample of aging mothers of adult children with mental retardation. These women have been in the role of caregiver for up to five decades, in addition to occupying the range of roles normatively held in adulthood and old age. We found, using longitudinal analyses, that holding multiple roles is significantly and negatively related to depression in this sample, as in the general population. The effect of multiple roles remains significant even after the previous level of depression is controlled. These results support the role accumulation hypothesis predicting positive consequences of multiple roles on psychological well-being, even in this sample of older women who have had lifelong caregiving responsibilities.

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