J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2017 Apr;21(1):8-16. 10.0000/jkgp.2017.21.1.8.

The Effects of Spouse Support and Conflict on Depression in Older Adults and Their Gender Difference

  • 1Department of Psychology, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, Korea. hykimpsy@jbnu.ac.kr


The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of spouse support and conflict on the depression in older adults, and also to explore whether there are any differences between men and women in these effects.
The participants of this study were normal and married older adults who participated in the first wave of Korean Social Life, Health, and Aging Project. Participants consisted of 221 men and 210 women. The effects of support and conflict in spousal and other relationships on depression were analyzed using hierarchical regression analysis, separately in men and women.
In the men group, the spouse conflict was especially influential in depression. More spouse conflict resulted in greater depression among men. In the women group, however, support from individuals other than spouse (kin support and friends support) had significant effects on depression. Less support received from individuals other than spouse was associated with higher levels of depression among women.
The results of this study suggest that the quality of spousal and other relationships is related to depression in older adults. Moreover, there is a gender difference in the effect of support and conflict experienced in the relationship.


Marital relationship in late adulthood; Depression; Social support; Social conflict; Gender difference
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