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The impact of a partner's nursing home admission on individuals' mental well-being

Teo, Hansel (2023) The impact of a partner's nursing home admission on individuals' mental well-being. Social Science & Medicine, 327 . Article Number 115941. ISSN 0277-9536. (doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.115941) (KAR id:101299)


This study analyzes the effect of a partner's nursing home admission on individuals' mental well-being. To do so, we use longitudinal data on couples from the Health and Retirement Study and a quasi-experimental difference-in-differences design to isolate the causal effect of the transition. We hypothesize that: (i) a partner's nursing home admission has a negative impact on individuals' mental well-being and (ii) the size of the negative effect is decreasing in the amount of caregiving provided by respondents pre-admission. We find that a partner's nursing home admission raises respondents' depressive symptomology scores by 0.839, corresponding to a 50 percent increase from the average pre-admission baseline. Amongst respondents providing care to their partners pre-admission, a nursing home transition raises depression scores by 0.670, corresponding to a 36.8 increase from baseline. Non-caregiving respondents experience a corresponding 1.05 increase in depression scores, representing a 67.2 percent rise from baseline. Amongst pre-admission caregivers, we find that the negative well-being impact of a partner's admission decreases in the duration and intensity of caregiving pre-admission. We also find that partners of care recipients with more severe physical and cognitive impairment pre-admission experience less deterioration in mental well-being compared to their counterparts. Overall, our findings indicate that a partner's transition into residential care can provide respite from caregiving-related stressors. However, on average, the negative well-being effects of the transition tend to outweigh this positive respite effect. The policy implications are twofold: first, there is a need for continued support to families of care recipients during the latter's transition into institutional care. Second, nursing homes and other institutions have a role in providing respite care, especially for high-intensity caregivers.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.115941
Uncontrolled keywords: Long-term care, Nursing home admission, Spillover effects, Depressive symptoms, CES-D, United States
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Personal Social Services Research Unit
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: George Austin-Coskry
Date Deposited: 16 May 2023 08:49 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2023 08:43 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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