- Through a dark lens: effects of depressed mood on perceived equity in intergenerational relationships
- Social Science Quarterly
- Volume | Issue number
- 94 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Objectives: Many studies have examined how equity in personal relationships affects mental health and well-being. Often, such studies use measures based on how people perceive the balance in a relationship. In this study, the reverse causal path is studied, from well-being to perceived equity. The expectation is that depressed mood would lead to more negative views of the degree of equity in a relationship.
Methods: The reciprocal relationships between depressive symptoms and perceived equity are studied using a large representative survey with two waves of measurement. The focus is on intergenerational relationships and the perspective taken is that of the elderly parent.
Findings: Analyses show that there is little effect of equity on depressed mood once this is analyzed in a longitudinal fashion. More evidence is obtained for the reverse path: mothers (but not fathers) who are depressed develop a more negative view of the degree of equity in the relationships they have with their children, even when reports of actual support exchange are taken into account.
Conclusions: Depressed mood can bias perceptions of equity. In a more general way, the findings are in line with some recent experimental studies that have emphasized the importance of feelings for perceptions.
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