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Journal Article

Age and the Effect of Economic Hardship on Depression

John Mirowsky and Catherine E. Ross
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 42, No. 2 (Jun., 2001), pp. 132-150
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3090174
Page Count: 19
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Age and the Effect of Economic Hardship on Depression
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Abstract

The amount of depression associated with economic hardship among adults may depend on age. This study tests alternative hypotheses about the interaction. The first asserts that the amount of depression associated with economic hardship decreases with older age because of maturity and experience. The second, the opposite, asserts that the amount increases with older age because of increasingly limited future opportunities for recovery. The study analyzes data from 2,592 households in the 1995 and 1998 telephone survey of Aging, Status, and the Sense of Control (ASOC). Regression analyses find that the amount of depression associated with economic hardship decreases with older age, both cross-sectionally and over time. No model shows an increase with age in the depression associated with economic hardship. However, regressions do show that not having household wage income or having a disabling or life threatening chronic disease increases the depression associated with economic hardship. Those interactions somewhat suppress the moderating effect of older age on the association between economic hardship and depression.

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