Migration and psychological well-being among older adults: a growth curve analysis based on panel data from the Health and Retirement Study, 1996-2006

J Aging Health. 2010 Oct;22(7):882-913. doi: 10.1177/0898264310368430. Epub 2010 May 21.


Purpose: A vibrant body of research examines migration among older adults. Existing research, however, grants scarce attention to the implications of later-life migration for the migrants themselves. Our research focuses on the impacts of migration on depressive symptomatology among older U.S. adults.

Methods: Our analysis employs six waves of panel data from the Health and Retirement Study, 1996-2006. Growth curve modeling techniques are employed.

Results: Net of other stressful life events, migration effects appear to vary significantly across persons. Findings highlight the particularly depressive impact of moves motivated by negative life events or circumstances. Results further suggest that later life moves may be especially stressful for women and as individuals age.

Discussion: The stress of moving late in life may depend on social integration at destination. Further research should pursue this issue. Study limitations and additional directions for further research are delineated.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Age Factors
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Happiness*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Psychometrics
  • Retirement / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Transients and Migrants / psychology*