Journal Articles

Publication Date



International Psychogeriatrics


OBJECTIVE: To examine the bidirectional associations between older adult spouses' cognitive functioning and depressive symptoms over time and replicate previous findings from the United States (US) in Mexico.

DESIGN: Longitudinal, dyadic path analysis with the actor-partner interdependence model.

SETTING: Data were from the three most recent interview waves (2012, 2015, and 2018) of the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS), a longitudinal national study of adults aged 50+ years in Mexico.

PARTICIPANTS: Husbands and wives from 905 community-dwelling married couples (N = 1,810).

MEASUREMENTS: The MHAS cognitive battery measured cognitive function. Depressive symptoms were assessed using a modified nine-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Baseline covariates included age, education, number of children, limitation with any activity of daily living, limitation with any instrumental activity of daily living, and pain.

RESULTS: As hypothesized, there were significant within-individual associations in which one person's own cognitive functioning and own depressive symptoms predicted their own follow-up cognitive functioning and depressive symptoms, respectively. In addition, a person's own cognitive functioning predicted their own depressive symptoms, and a person's own depressive symptoms predicted their own cognitive functioning over time. As hypothesized, there was a significant partner association such that one person's depressive symptoms predicted more depressive symptoms in the partner.

CONCLUSION: Findings from this study of older Mexican couples replicates findings from studies of older couples in the US, showing that depressive symptoms in one partner predict depressive symptoms in the other partner over time; however, there was no evidence for cognition-depression partner associations over time.


Humans, United States, Aged, Depression, Mexico, Spouses, Aging, Cognition, Longitudinal Studies, Marriage



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