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00 Lean on my Network: Depressive Symptoms, Physical Health, and Gender in Different-Sex Older Adult Couples (2017 Fellow)

SOCIAL NETWORKS AND HEALTH 2017 workshop

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Lean on my Network: Depressive
Symptoms, Physical Health, and Gender in
Different-Sex Older Adult Couples
Peter Vielehr, MA
5/22/17
Mental health and the life course
• Psychological distress is often more likely in late life than throughout
adulthood (Mirowsky and Ross 1992).
• Often, distress is related to social isolation and lack of social support
(Cornwell and Waite 2009).
• Physical health declines can lead to increases in psychological
distress.
• Poor physical health makes maintaining social relationships more difficult
while increasing reliance on significant others.
Networks and mental health
• Social ties are important resources for sustaining psychological
wellbeing.
• Networks are the source of social support
• Gender may influence the formation and maintenance of social ties in other-
sex couples.
• Women often take on emotional caretaking roles and may be more likely to do the
emotional labor required to sustain social ties over time.
• People in relationships often report fewer depressive symptoms than
single, divorced, or widowed individuals.
• Partnered people can show a range of experiences with mental health.
• The relationship quality and social support present are important factors for
psychological resilience.
Gender and Mental Health
• Bird and Reiker’s (2008) constrained choices model
Questions
• When physical health is challenged, do social networks offset
depressive symptoms?
• For cohabiting couples, are partners’ social networks resources that
can contribute to emotional wellbeing?
• Does this differ by gender?
Hypotheses
• Integration into a partner’s network will be protective against the
negative impacts of poor self rated health.
• Men will gain more benefit from their spouse’s network than women.
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00 Lean on my Network: Depressive Symptoms, Physical Health, and Gender in Different-Sex Older Adult Couples (2017 Fellow)

  • 1. Lean on my Network: Depressive Symptoms, Physical Health, and Gender in Different-Sex Older Adult Couples Peter Vielehr, MA 5/22/17
  • 2. Mental health and the life course • Psychological distress is often more likely in late life than throughout adulthood (Mirowsky and Ross 1992). • Often, distress is related to social isolation and lack of social support (Cornwell and Waite 2009). • Physical health declines can lead to increases in psychological distress. • Poor physical health makes maintaining social relationships more difficult while increasing reliance on significant others.
  • 3. Networks and mental health • Social ties are important resources for sustaining psychological wellbeing. • Networks are the source of social support • Gender may influence the formation and maintenance of social ties in other- sex couples. • Women often take on emotional caretaking roles and may be more likely to do the emotional labor required to sustain social ties over time. • People in relationships often report fewer depressive symptoms than single, divorced, or widowed individuals. • Partnered people can show a range of experiences with mental health. • The relationship quality and social support present are important factors for psychological resilience.
  • 4. Gender and Mental Health • Bird and Reiker’s (2008) constrained choices model
  • 5. Questions • When physical health is challenged, do social networks offset depressive symptoms? • For cohabiting couples, are partners’ social networks resources that can contribute to emotional wellbeing? • Does this differ by gender?
  • 6. Hypotheses • Integration into a partner’s network will be protective against the negative impacts of poor self rated health. • Men will gain more benefit from their spouse’s network than women.
  • 7. Methods • Data from wave 2 (2010-2011) of the National Social Life Health and Aging Project • Nationally representative sample of older adults • Wave 2 interviewed both members of cohabiting couples • Actor-Partner Interdependence Model • Distinguishable by gender • Heterogeneous Compound Symmetry for residual variances by gender • Multiple imputation used due to missing data • Primarily missing on income variable • Dependent Variable: 11-item version of the CES-D • Averaged
  • 8. The Actor-Partner Interdependence Model Spouse 1 IV Spouse 2 DV Spouse 1 DV Spouse 2 IV Actor Effect Actor Effect Partner Effects e1 e2
  • 9. Independent Variables Actor Variables Partner Variables Couple Variables Gender Logged income Self-Rated Health Coded as Poor, Fair, or Good (ref.) Self-Rated Health Age Age squared Race/Ethnicity Black, Latino, Other, White (ref.) Education < HS, HS, >HS (ref.) Network Degree (Nominal, ref=6) Network Degree Network Density Network Density Spousal Connectedness Spousal Connectedness
  • 10. Network Variables • Networks treated as independent variables. • Ego-network collected through 3 name generators • Primary name generator-5 names • Second-spouse if not named earlier • Third-one additional name • Edge lists imported with egonetR • Measures • Degree • Spousal connectedness- igraph::strength() • 𝐸 𝑤 𝑁 • Density (mean tie strength)- sna::gden() • 𝐸 𝑤 𝑛∗(𝑛−1) 2
  • 11. Results • Main Effects • Significant effects for: Female (+), Age(-), Age squared(+), Fair Health(+), Poor Health(+), and having a partner reporting seven alters(+) • No other significant network effects • Interaction Effects • Connectedness • Female X Connectedness in Partner’s Network X Self-rated Health (Fair and Poor) • Density • Female X Density-Actor’s Network X Self-Rated Health (Poor)
  • 12. 2.8 2.9 3 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Low Connetctedness High Connectedness DepressiveSymptoms Gender and Connectedness in Partner's Network Moderating Self-Rated Health's influence on Depressive Symptoms Women, Poor Health Men, Poor Health Women, Fair Health Men, Fair Health Women, Good Health Men, Good Health
  • 13. 2.8 2.9 3 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Low Density-Actor High Density-Actor DepressiveSymptoms Gender and Density in Actor's Network Moderating Self-Rated Health's influence on Depressive Symptoms Women, Poor Health Women, Good Health Men, Poor Health Men, Good Health
  • 14. Discussion • Being connected within a partner’s network is associated with fewer depressive symptoms for men in fair and poor health • With fair health, women have higher distress with higher connectedness • Being central to a partner’s network while managing chronic health issues may cause stress • Gender creates unique constraints for women in social networks • These are in relation to their partner’s network as well
  • 16. The Actor-Partner Interdependence Model • Modeling processes within relationships provides both opportunities and challenges. • Opportunities: • How one partner effects the other can be modeled. • Actor effects may be contingent based on partner independent variables • i.e. a partner’s access to resources may moderate an actor effect. • Other-sex couples provide a distinguishable case where gendered interactions can be examined. • Both individual and couple-level independent variables can be modeled. • Challenges: • Statistical dependence and biased standard errors. • Two group members limits number of random effects to only an intercept. • Several ways to overcome limitations, I use multilevel modeling