Mental Health and Spouse Support Among Older Couples Living With Sensory Loss

  • Christine M. Lehane, Sofia Maria Hofsöe, Walter Wittich, Jesper Dammeyer
  • Journal of Aging and Health, June 2017, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/0898264317713135

Mental Health and Spouse Support Among Older Couples Living With Sensory Loss

What is it about?

In this study, we examined whether the mental health of adults with sensory loss and their spouses differed according to whether the loss was hearing-, visual-, or dual. Two further aims included examining whether adults with sensory loss and their spouses had worse mental health than couples without sensory loss and whether support from one’s spouse (negative and positive) was linked to both partners' mental health. Consistent with previous research, we found no differences in couples' level of anxiety and depression as a function of the type of sensory loss that they were coping with. Adults with sensory loss had more symptoms of anxiety and depression than couples without sensory loss. Spouses had higher depression scores only. Support from one’s spouse emerged as an important predictor of both anxiety and depression, in that, positive and negative support from one’s spouse had protective and deleterious effects on mental health, respectively.

Why is it important?

This study replicates the findings of previous research that couples coping with sensory loss are at risk of mental health difficulties, and it demonstrates the importance of the quality of couples' intimate relationship for mental well-being.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0898264317713135

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Walter Wittich and Dr Christine M Lehane