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Keywords

aging, depression, lifespan development, mental health, physical health, self concept, women's development, women's health

 

Authors

  1. Heidrich, Susan M. PhD, RN

Abstract

This 6-year longitudinal study of 103 community-dwelling older women examined changes in physical and mental health and self conceptions and the relationships among self conceptions, physical health, and depression. Over time, physical health, personal growth, and purpose in life declined; depression increased; and positive relations and autonomy were stable. Regression analyses indicated declines in physical health rarely affected the self; increase in depression was related only to concurrent physical health; and prior depression did not predict subsequent physical health. Thus, positive self conceptions and physical health appear to be independent in elderly women, but declines in physical health are associated with depression.