Longitudinal influences of partner depression on cognitive functioning in latino spousal pairs

W Ladson Hinton, Yolanda Hagar, Nancy West, Hector M. González, Dan M Mungas, Laurel A Beckett, Mary N. Haan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: While social factors may influence the trajectories of cognitive aging, the influence of spousal characteristics (i.e. health or mental health) on cognitive decline has received little attention. This study examined the influence of baseline depressive symptoms in one spouse on cognitive functioning in the other. Methods: We conducted a longitudinal study of 279 Latino spousal pairs (558 people) taken from a cohort study (n = 1,789) in California's central valley with assessments every 12-18 months. Results: Higher husband baseline depression was significantly associated with lower cognitive scores maintained across time for both husbands (p < 0.001) and wives (p = 0.01). Wives with higher baseline depression scores showed significantly worse cognitive function over time (p = 0.007). Conclusions: Husbands' cognitive function was more strongly linked to their own level of depression, whereas wives' cognitive function was influenced by both their own and their partners' level of baseline depression. Our study further documents the public health significance of depression and our need to look beyond the individual to the reverberating effects of depression on the family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-500
Number of pages10
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Depression, spouse
  • Gender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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