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Trajectories of antidepressant use before and after union dissolution and re-partnering in later life: a prospective total population register-based cohort study

Overview of attention for article published in Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, February 2024
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Title
Trajectories of antidepressant use before and after union dissolution and re-partnering in later life: a prospective total population register-based cohort study
Published in
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, February 2024
DOI 10.1136/jech-2023-221529
Pubmed ID
Authors

Yaoyue Hu, Niina Metsä-Simola, Satu Malmberg, Pekka Martikainen

Abstract

Grey divorce and later remarriage have become increasingly common in high-income countries, but previous evidence on their impacts on mental health is scarce. Even less is known about the effects of non-marital separation and re-partnering in later life. Using Finnish registry data from 1996 to 2018 on 228 644 individuals aged 50-70 in 2000-2014, trajectories of antidepressant (AD) use 4 years before and 4 years after divorce, non-marital separation, bereavement and subsequent re-partnering were examined using individual fixed-effects (FE) linear probability models. In adjusted FE models, for both genders AD use increased during the 4 years before divorce (men: 5.00 percentage points (95% CI 4.50 to 5.50); women: 6.96 (95% CI 6.34 to 7.59)), non-marital separation (men: 3.20 (95% CI 2.72 to 3.69); women: 5.98 (95% CI 5.30 to 6.66)) and bereavement (men: 4.53 (95% CI 3.97 to 5.09); women: 5.64 (95% CI 5.25 to 6.04)), with the increase accelerating immediately before the event. AD use gradually declined after union dissolution, after which it stabilised on a persistently higher level compared with pre-dissolution. Re-partnering was only associated with a small and transitory reduction in AD use (0.1-1.5 percentage points). The increases in AD use associated with union dissolution were larger in women than in men, whereas the small reductions in AD use associated with re-partnering were particularly short-lived among women. Our results suggest that union dissolution in later life is associated with large and persistent increases in AD use, whereas the reductions associated with re-partnering are limited both in magnitude and duration.

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