Visual impairment contributes to poor mental health among older adults by restricting everyday functioning and participation. This study examined whether the negative link between vision impairment and depressive symptomatology was less severe among partnered than among single older adults. We merged data from a survey among people with vision impairment with a reference population from the most recent wave of the Danish Longitudinal Study of Ageing (DLSA) (N = 5831 Mage = 74.37, range: 65–97 years, 53.1% female), investigating whether paths from poor vision via three mediators—functional limitations, emotional support and participation in social activities—to depressive symptomatology differ by partnership status. Structural equation modeling suggested that the direct path from vision impairment to depressive symptomatology is more than twice as strong for single than for partnered older adults. Thus being partnered reduces the negative link from vision impairment to depressive symptomatology. However, the path from vision impairment to emotional support is significantly stronger among single than among partnered individuals. Thus negative spillover effects from the visual impairment on the non-impaired partner’s mental health may compromise that partner’s ability to provide emotional support. Taking into account both partnership status and the mental health of both partners may help professionals more precisely target interventions aimed at reducing the risk of depression in visually impaired older adults.
- Anna AmilonAnu Siren
About this publication
Financed byVELUX FONDEN
Published inEuropean Journal of Ageing