The role of personality and intimacy with depression in elderly widows
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As the average age of the population in the United States gets older each year, the problem of depression has been recognized as a chronic problem that affects the quality of life and mental health of many of our nation's elderly. Widowed females, who represent the largest segment of older adults, are particularly at risk for suffering from depression in their elder years. One of the primary difficulties in treating depression in this population is lack of understanding of the factors that contribute to its etiology, in the context of an environment which restricts development of social relationships and limits resources for treatment of depression symptoms. This study examined the reported levels of interpersonal intimacy, depression and the personality characteristics of introversion or extroversion, and examined the relationship between the three factors. Results indicated that, with this study sample (N=99), 23.2% of the sample met cut-off scores indicating depression. Overall, the participants reported being satisfied with their current level of intimacy in relationships; however those who also reported being depressed were less likely to be satisfied. Likewise, those participants who were depressed were more likely to be in the introvert group of personality characteristics. There was no significant relationship established between satisfaction with intimacy and the personality traits. The study showed that the variables examined, including some demographic variables, were correlated, but more work and a larger sample is needed to allow the variables to be used for the purpose of prediction of depression or satisfaction with intimacy in this population.
Marrs, Doyle T. (2005). The role of personality and intimacy with depression in elderly widows. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from