A depressed spouse may increase one’s own cognitive decline, study

Spouses’ emotions and intellectual activities influence each other in daily life.


Yale’s new study suggests that having a discouraged mate can expand one’s own depressive symptoms and, in addition, cognitive decline over time in late life.

Utilizing data from the Cardiovascular Health Study, which included 1,028 wedded couples over the age of 60, scientists took a gander at associations and changes after some time in life partners’ depressive symptoms and 3MS scores, a typical clinical measure of subjective functioning at three visits spanning 7 years.

As partners share many health behaviors and health conditions in late life, scientists were keen to know whether spouses’ cognitive impairment and depressive symptoms were also related.

It ought to be noticed the quality of the relationship between life partners’ depressive symptoms and cognitive decline was moderately small in this investigation. For one standard deviation change in depressive indications, the partner’s cognitive impairment symptoms score expanded by 0.20 points.

Joan Monin, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health, said, “Because spouses’ emotions and intellectual activities influence each other in daily life, we expected that spouses’ mental and cognitive health would also be related over time. And this is what we found.”

“Although we know that spouses’ mental and cognitive health is related from this study, our next step is to uncover specific behaviors that may account for these spousal influences. These findings suggest that not only is it important to monitor, prevent, and treat mental and cognitive health problems in individuals but also their close relationship partners.”

Other co-authors of this study include Margaret Doyle, Peter H. Van Ness, Richard Schulz, Richard A. Marottoli, Kira Birditt, Brooke C. Feeney, and Yale School of Public Health Professor Trace Kershaw.

The findings are published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.


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