First Differences in Depressive Symptoms among Older Men and Women in Japan and the United States as Reported in the NUJLSOA and HRS

Andrew D. Tiedt, NORC at the University of Chicago

Cross-national research on aging has discussed a persistent gender gap in depressive symptoms among elders that is eventually reduced due to role shifts experienced by men. This research examined changes in depressive symptoms among older men and women in the United States and Japan across two time periods. The longitudinal results found evidence for reductions in the gender gap in depressive symptoms in Japan, but not the United States. The study identified an adverse effect of transitions to singlehood in both samples, but among Japanese men in particular. Results also implied that future studies need to take into consideration increased heterogeneity in Japanese household structure. There were few prominent gender differences apparent in the U.S. sample. Across cultures, marital status, self-reported health and somatic health measures predicted changes in depressive symptoms.

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Presented in Session 98: Race, Ethnic, and Gender Disparities in Health and Mortality