Objectives: Stressful life events (SLEs) have been linked to depression, anxiety, and reduced life satisfaction. The inoculation hypothesis of aging suggests older adults may be less vulnerable to poor psychological outcomes following SLEs than working-age adults. The current study compared relationships between SLEs, mood and life satisfaction among older adults (65+), and adults aged 50-64, and investigated whether group identification and loneliness moderate these relationships.
Method: A community-based sample of 121 Scottish participants responded to measures of SLEs (modified Social Readjustment Rating Scale), symptoms of depression and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), life satisfaction (Life Satisfaction Index A), group identification (Group Identification Scale), and loneliness (UCLA Loneliness Scale).
Results: In the 50-64 age group, the number of SLEs was significantly associated with greater symptoms of depression and anxiety, and reduced life satisfaction. Group identification and loneliness did not moderate these relationships. There were no significant relationships in the older adult group.
Conclusion: The finding of relationships in working-age, but not older adults, supports the inoculation hypothesis of aging. Further research to better understand changes across the lifespan, and inter-relationships with related variables, would be valuable from both theoretical and clinical perspectives.
- life events
- mental health
- group identification