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Mark D. Hayward, Director 305 E. 23rd Street, Stop G1800 78712-1699 • 512-471-5514

Isaac Sasson Won a Best Paper Award from the Southern Demographic Association

Posted: February 26, 2013

PRC Graduate Student Trainee Isaac Sasson won the Everett S. Lee best graduate student paper award for his 2012 paper, “Gender Differences in Depression Following Late Widowhood: A Population Perspective.”

Isaac's paper explored the following:

Depression following widowhood is hypothesized to vary by gender, with most cross-sectional studies finding a greater adverse effect for men. By contrast, longitudinal studies tend to find no gender difference or a greater effect for women. Using eight waves of prospective data from the Health and Retirement Study, this paper aims to examine whether trajectories of depressive symptoms following widowhood vary by gender or anticipatory spousal loss. Results show no gender difference, net of widowhood duration, in the change in depressive symptoms in either the short or long term (24 months and up to 12 years, respectively). However, women tend to become widowed at an earlier age and remain widowed for a longer period of time. This suggests that previously found gender differences were largely driven by sample selection. The study also finds that psychological adjustment to widowhood is delayed when spousal death is unanticipated, and that early widowhood is especially associated with long-term adverse consequences. In conclusion, although men and women do not react differently to late widowhood given similar circumstances, from a population perspective, women are more likely to become widowed under less favorable conditions.

Congratulations to Isaac Sasson!

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