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Depressive Symptoms, Self-Reported Physical Functioning, and Identity in Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Depressive Symptoms, Self-Reported Physical Functioning, and Identity in Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Ageing International 35(4): 276-285

OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between self-reported physical functioning and depressive symptoms by testing the mediation of identity processes in linking this relationship. METHODS: Sixty-eight older adults (mean age= 74.4) participated in this cross-sectional study. Participants completed measures of physical functioning (Physical Symptoms Checklist), depressive symptoms (CESD-20) and identity processes (IES-G). RESULTS: The relationship between physical functioning and depressive symptoms was partially mediated by sensitivity of older adults to feedback from experiences, the process known as identity accommodation (Whitbourne, Sneed, & Skultety, 2002). CONCLUSION: Not only are physical changes relevant to negative psychological outcomes in later adulthood, but it is the interpretation of these changes that seems to have particular relevance for aging individuals. Though preliminary based on cross-sectional data, the findings suggest that examining individual differences in sensitivity to aging stereotypes may help identify factors related to depressive symptoms in later adulthood. Future research is needed to disentangle these interrelated concepts.

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Accession: 052494410

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PMID: 21170160

DOI: 10.1007/s12126-010-9053-4

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