CitationKamis, Christina; Stolte, Allison; & Copeland, Molly (2021). Parental Death and Mid-adulthood Depressive Symptoms: The Importance of Life Course Stage and Parent’s Gender. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. vol. 63 (2) pp. 250-265
AbstractTraditional theories of grief suggest that individuals experience short-term increases in depressive symptoms following the death of a parent. However, growing evidence indicates that effects of parental bereavement may persist. Situating the short- and long-term effects of parental death within the life course perspective, we assess the combined influence of time since loss and life course stage at bereavement on mental health for maternal and paternal death. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 11,877) to examine biological parental death from childhood to mid-adulthood, we find that those who experience recent maternal or paternal death have heightened depressive symptoms. Furthermore, those who experience maternal death in childhood or paternal death in young adulthood exhibit long-term consequences for mental health. Our findings underscore the theoretical importance of early life course stages and parent's gender when determining whether depressive symptoms persist following parental bereavement.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleJournal of Health and Social Behavior