Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Amy Fiske.


Older adults with functional disabilities are at an increased risk for experiencing depressive symptoms. Studies using cross-sectional analyses have reported that social support mediates the relation between depressive symptoms and functional disability in older adults. Nonetheless, few studies have investigated this model over time. Additionally, the role of gender in this mediation relation has not been explored. This study used latent growth curve modeling to investigate the potential mediating role of perceived social support within the relationship between disability and depression and whether gender moderates that relation. Twins (n = 656) and co-twins (n = 678) from the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging were analyzed separately to cross-validate the results through a nonindependent replication. Four waves of mailed questionnaires were examined, spanning sixteen years. The overall analysis yielded a poor model fit. Mediation and moderation analyses could not be performed due to inadequate model fit. Poor model fit was also evident in sample two. Post-hoc analyses in sample two, in which observations from the last time of measurement were excluded, suggest that perceived social support may have a direct effect on depressive symptoms rather than playing a mediating role, but replication of these results is needed.