Multiple trajectories of depressive symptoms in middle and late life: Racial/ethnic variations

Jersey Liang, Xiao Xu, Ana R. Quiñones, Joan M. Bennett, Wen Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research aims to identify distinct courses of depressive symptoms among middle-aged and older Americans and to ascertain how these courses vary by race/ethnicity. Data came from the 1995-2006 Health and Retirement Study which involved a national sample of 17,196 Americans over 50 years of age with up to six repeated observations. Depressive symptoms were measured by an abbreviated version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale. Semiparametric group based mixture models (Proc Traj) were used for data analysis. Six major trajectories were identified: (a) minimal depressive symptoms (15.9%), (b) low depressive symptoms (36.3%), (c) moderate and stable depressive symptoms (29.2%), (d) high but decreasing depressive symptoms (6.6%), (e) moderate but increasing depressive symptoms (8.3%), and (f) persistently high depressive symptoms (3.6%). Adjustment of time-varying covariates (e.g., income and health conditions) resulted in a similar set of distinct trajectories. Relative to White Americans, Black and Hispanic Americans were significantly more likely to be in trajectories of more elevated depressive symptoms. In addition, they were more likely to experience increasing and decreasing depressive symptoms. Racial and ethnic variations in trajectory groups were partially mediated by SES, marital status, and health conditions, particularly when both interpersonal and intrapersonal differences in these variables were taken into account.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-777
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology and Aging
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

Keywords

  • Depressive symptoms
  • Hispanic
  • Racial/ethnic difference
  • Trajectory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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