The association of relationship quality and social networks with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation among older married adults: Findings from a cross-sectional analysis of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)

Ziggi Ivan Santini, Ai Koyanagi, Stefanos Tyrovolas, Josep M. Haro

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Important associations have been found between social relationships and various mental health outcomes. However, limited data exists for these associations among older adults especially in terms of relationship quality in partnerships. This study aimed to examine the associations of positive and negative partner interactions and social networks with depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. Methods Nationally-representative, cross-sectional data of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) was analyzed. The analytical sample consisted of 4988 community dwelling adults aged >50 years in spouse/partner relationships. Information on sociodemographics and social relationships were assessed using standard questions. Validated scales for depression and anxiety, and a single-item question for suicidal ideation were used to assess mental health outcomes. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the association between social relationships and depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Results After adjusting for confounders, negative partner interactions were significantly associated with increased likelihood of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, while positive partner interactions were significantly and inversely related to anxiety and suicidal ideation. Higher levels of social integration were significantly associated with lower odds for depression. Limitations Given the cross-sectional nature of the research, no firm conclusions can be made in terms of directions of causality. Conclusion By assessing the available social network of older adults, as well as the areas in their social relationships that need to be addressed, it may be possible for practitioners and policy makers to maximize the benefits of network integration and minimize the potentially harmful aspects of social relationships, thereby improving overall mental health and emotional well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-141
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume179
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Social network
  • Social support
  • Spouses
  • Suicidal ideation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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