Depression and Life Satisfaction

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Abstract
The correlation between depression and life satisfaction for older adults was examined using questionnaires. Four hundred and one older adults (age 65 and above) filled out two questionnaires that assessing depression and life satisfaction, as well as two irrelevant questionnaires that were used to prevent from guessing the hypothesis. As hypothesized, significant negative correlation was found between depression and life satisfaction for older adults. However, the strength of the correlation was quite low. This might due to the inadequate use of questionnaires or participants’ characteristics. Keywords: depression, life satisfaction, older adults

Effect of Depression on Life Satisfaction for Elderly Population People who are suffering from depression tend to have a negative view of life. Consequently, they generally have lower level of life satisfaction as well. Previous research has suggested a strong negative correlation between depression and life satisfaction. That is, as one gets more severe in his depression symptoms, his overall life satisfaction will decrease dramatically. For example, in one study conducted by Headey, Kelley and Wearing (1991), the participants completed a series of questionnaires assessing their general life satisfaction, positive affect, anxiety and depression. They found that “one of the well-being (psychological) dimension, life satisfaction, is quite strongly and negatively correlated with a distress (psychological) dimension, depression; life satisfaction and depression are near opposites” (p. 63). This result was not only limited to one study. In the early studies, Frisch, Cornell, and Villanueva (1989) also obtained significant negative correlations between life satisfaction and depression. Furthermore, Frisch et al. explored the underlying process of the relationship between depression and life satisfaction. They suggested that depression was a combination of negative



References: Adams, K.B., Sanders, S. & Auth, E. A. (2004). Loneliness and depression in independent living retirement communities: risk and resilience factors Alexopoulos, G. S. (2005). Depression in the elderly. Lancet, 365, 1961-1970. Aquino, J.A., Russell, D. W., Cutrona, C. E., & Altmaier, E. M. (1996). Employment Status, Social Support, and Life Satisfaction Among the Elderly Blazer, D., & Williams, C.D. (1980). Epidemiology of Dysphoria and Depression in an Elderly Population Chao, S.Y., Liu, H. Y., Wu, C.Y., Jin, S.F., Chu, T.L., Huang, T.S., & Clark, M.J. (2006). Frisch, M.B., Cornell, J., & Villanueva, M. (1992). Clinical Validation of the Quality of Life Inventory: A Measure of Life Satisfaction for Use in Treatment Planning Harlow, R.E. & Cantor, N. (1996). Still participating after all these years: A study of life task participation in later life Headey, B., Kelley, J., & Wearing, A. (1993). Dimensions of Mental Health: Life Satisfaction, Positive Affect, Anxiety and Depression Radloff, L.S. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population Saunders, S.A., & Roy, C. (2000). Depression, life satisfaction, & social interest. Pacific Journal of Psychology, 11, 9-15. Thoits, P., & Hewitt, L. N. (2001). Volunteer Work and Well-Being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 42, 115-131.

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