Journal of Women & Aging

ISSN: 0895-2841 (Print) 1540-7322 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wjwa20

The Relations Among Relatedness Needs, Subjective Well-Being, and Depression of Korean Elderly SuGyun Seo, JeeHye Jeon, YoungSook Chong & JeongShin An To cite this article: SuGyun Seo, JeeHye Jeon, YoungSook Chong & JeongShin An (2015) The Relations Among Relatedness Needs, Subjective Well-Being, and Depression of Korean Elderly, Journal of Women & Aging, 27:1, 17-34, DOI: 10.1080/08952841.2014.929406 To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/08952841.2014.929406

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Date: 30 November 2017, At: 06:53

Journal of Women & Aging, 27:17–34, 2015 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 0895-2841 print/1540-7322 online DOI: 10.1080/08952841.2014.929406

The Relations Among Relatedness Needs, Subjective Well-Being, and Depression of Korean Elderly SUGYUN SEO, JEEHYE JEON, and YOUNGSOOK CHONG Downloaded by [University of Tasmania] at 06:53 30 November 2017

Department of Psychology, Pusan National University, Busan, Korea

JEONGSHIN AN Department of Child Development and Family Studies, Pusan National University, Busan, Korea

The first part of the study examined what the relatedness needs Korean elderly have in close relationships (spouse, children, friends) are. The most salient needs were “love and care” for spouse and “contact and often meeting” for children and friends. The second part of the study assessed the relations among the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs, subjective well-being, and depression of Korean elderly. Regression analyses showed that the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs for spouse and children significantly predicted subjective well-being and depression. Finally, gender differences are discussed in terms of the patriarchal culture of Korean society. KEYWORDS depression, difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs, relatedness needs, subjective wellbeing

INTRODUCTION The average life expectancy has been extended due to the impact of medical science and economic development. Consequently, methods of successful aging have been the focus of considerable research attention. Since the Address correspondence to YoungSook Chong, Department of Psychology, Pusan National University, Busandaehak-ro 63beon-gil, Geumjeong-gu, Busan 609-735, Korea. E-mail: [email protected] 17

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1970s, the studies regarding successful aging, led by gerontologists, have suggested that meaningful relationships with family or others were important factors for happiness of the elderly (An, Chong, Jeong, Seo, & Conney, 2011; H. K. Choi, 2008; Y. J. Jeong & An, 2010; I. Kang, 2003, H. W. Kang, 2011; K. R. Park & Yi, 2002; Sung & Yoo, 2002; Yoon & Yoo, 2006). Most studies examining the relations between happiness or depression and relationship satisfaction have evaluated only the satisfaction in relationships and not the level of expectation for relationships. In these earlier studies, the participants’ individual differences on the level of expectations for the relationship were not taken into account; therefore, the relations of close relationships and happiness or depression could be reduced. The purpose of this study is to identify what Korean elderly expect in their close relationships (spouse, children, and friends) and to examine the relations among the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs in each type of relationship, subjective well-being, and depression.

IMPORTANCE OF RELATIONSHIPS FOR THE ELDERLY Older adults experience a decrease of physical and mental function, a reduction of their social roles and the range of activities, and changes of the roles in their family and society. Therefore, interdependent relationships among family, children, relatives, and friends become much more important for the elderly in later life (H. K. Kim, 1999). Korean people, who are strongly influenced by Confucianism and familism, especially consider harmony in the relationships with family and relatives to be more important than individual freedom (An et al., 2011; Cho, 2006; D. H. Kim, 2001a). Kwan, Bond, and Singelis (1997) determined that relationship harmony exercised a relatively greater impact on life satisfaction for collective Hong Kong citizens than for individualistic Americans. Notably, the close relationships like family for Korean elderly who have traditionally lived in collectivist cultures were very important, and it appeared that satisfaction in interpersonal relationships has a strong influence on the mental health and happiness of Korean elders (E. M. Jeong, 2004; Jun, 2003; H. W. Kang, 2011; Kasser & Ryan, 1999; H. K. Kim, 1999; D. H. Kim, 2001b; H. J. Kim & Kim, 1995; Y. B. Kim & Park, 2004; Lim & Jeon, 2004; Moos, Schutte, Brennan, & Moos, 2005; K. S. Park, 2000; S. Y. Park & Choi, 1984; Rie, Cheong, & Lee, 2006; Shin, Lee, & Lee, 1994; Zhang & Yu, 1998). In addition, Zhang and Yu (1998) showed that Chinese elderly had a strong social expectation for harmonized family relationships that was significantly associated with the Chinese elderly’s life satisfaction. Beyene, Becker, and Mayen (2002) also examined the factors affecting a sense of emotional well-being among Latino elderly. Data from in-depth interviews of 83 Latino elders showed that physical, emotional, and spiritual integration; family; and good interpersonal

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relationships are the factors that contribute to well-being for older Latinos. Emotional support from their children was the most important factor for Latino elderly. These findings revealed that the degree of satisfaction for expectations of the elderly in close relationships has a significant impact on their mental health and happiness.

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RELATEDNESS NEEDS, SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING, AND DEPRESSION The quantity and quality of intimate relationships of the elderly significantly influence their happiness. Earlier studies suggested that subjective well-being for Korean elderly was positively associated with satisfying relationships and the quality of relationships with children (Y. K. Kim, 2000; T. H. Kim, Kim, Kim, Lee, & Kim, 1998; Won, 1995). Moreover, psychological discomfort such as depression and anxiety in later life was often experienced when the old person failed to develop close relationships with others (Horowitz & Vitkus, 1986). Furthermore, many elderly suffered greater depression and suicidal thoughts when they experienced more social conflicts than usual in daily life (Moos et al., 2005; M. J. Park, 2012). As earlier findings insisted, the degree of satisfaction experienced by the elderly in their close relationships is the most important factor in their happiness or depression. Recent studies suggested that the levels of current satisfaction and of individual needs should be considered together and that people feel much happier when the former match the latter (J. H. Kim, 2007; S. A. Kim & Lee, 2011; Lyubomirsky, 2001; S. Y. Park & Choi, 1984). S. A. Kim and Lee (2011) reported increased experience of frustration when people have unrealistically excessive needs. Those might cause a mismatch between expectation and satisfaction, leading to psychological discomfort such as depression or anxiety. That is, the degree of match between the level of needs and satisfaction highly affected happiness and depression. Most previous studies on the relations between elderly happiness and relationship patterns have focused on the satisfaction of relationships, without considering how this is simultaneously related with the expectation in close relationships. In order to understand more precisely the relations between the intimate relationship experience and happiness or depression, the expectations and degree of satisfaction in intimate relationships should be considered together. Despite the similar level of satisfaction in relationships, the degree of happiness or depression may differ, depending on the level of relatedness needs because the level of frustration is reduced with a lower level of relatedness needs, leading to a consequent reduction in psychological distress. In the current study, the expectations that elderly people have in intimate relationships were defined as relatedness needs,

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and we examined the relations among the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs, subjective well-being, and depression. The types of intimate relationships that elderly people experience are often classified as the relationships with spouse, children, and friends (M. A. Jeon, 2004; Y. B. Kim & Park, 2004). Among these social relations, family relationships with spouse and children are relatively stable and influential throughout the lifespan (Shaffer, 2008; Shaw, Krause, Liang, & Bennett, 2007). The elderly in Korean society considered their families as the most important area of life (S. J. Choi, 2001). Compared to the past, the extended life expectancy has resulted in elderly couples spending more time together, and the quality of their relationships is making an increasing contribution to the quality of the rest of their lives (Carstensen, 1993; Lim & Jeon, 2004). Most elderly consider their children as their main concern, and their relationships with them have a significant impact on their happiness and depression in later life (Jeong, 2004). Relationships with friends also have been reported to be an important part of their social life and to have a significant impact on their mental health (Moos et al., 2005; S. Y. Park & Choi, 1984). The life satisfaction of the elderly increases with more interaction with friends (Han, 1986).

OVERVIEW OF STUDIES In the first part of this article, we tried to identify the relatedness needs of the Korean elderly. The expectations that the elderly have for their spouse, children, and friends were exploratively studied and additionally the frequency of relatedness needs for men and women examined. Despite the many studies emphasizing the importance of having close relationships in later life, few have examined what elderly people expect in intimate relationships. Earlier findings have mainly focused on the influence on life satisfaction of the marital relationship, types of family relationship, and the degree of solidarity between parents and adult children (D. H. Kim, 2001b; H. K. Kim, 1999; H. J. Kim & Kim, 1995; H. J. Lee & Kim, 2004; Lim & Jeon, 2004; Roh & Mo, 2007; Shin et al., 1994). In the second part, based on the relatedness needs identified in study 1, the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs and its impact on subjective well-being and depression in the elderly were examined. The difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs was divided into three different types of relationship (spouse, children, and friends) and assessed. In order to assess the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs, it is necessary to assess the expectations of relatedness needs and the satisfaction of relatedness needs that the elderly have for their spouse, children, and friends. The effect of the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs on subjective well-being and depression was expected to

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vary depending on the types of relationship. Based on this, we examined the type of relationship that mainly affected the subjective well-being and depression of the elderly and especially focused on any gender difference. That is, the most important type of intimate relationship for elderly men and women would be different.

STUDY 1: INVESTIGATION FOR RELATEDNESS NEEDS AMONG THE ELDERLY

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Method PARTICIPANTS A total of 122 elderly who were over 65 years of age and able to understand the questionnaire were asked to participate in the current study after informed consent was obtained. The elderly were recruited from senior centers located in an urban area of Korea. Of the 122 elderly persons who agreed to participate, nine were excluded because of incomplete data. Complete data were obtained for 57 men (50.4%) and 56 women (49.6%). The average age of the sample was 75 years (SD = 5.77), with rage of 65 to 92 years. PROCEDURE

AND

MEASURES

In order to investigate the relatedness needs that the elderly have toward specific persons in intimate relationships, a total of six open-ended questions were asked of the elderly participants. The survey consisted of two main questions, and the participants were asked to respond to the questions on each subject (spouse, children, and friends) separately. The contents of the open-ended questions were as follows: 1. Please bring to mind the most desired things to your spouse (children, friend) and write them all down. (If your spouse passed away or does not live with you, please imagine your spouse is still here with you and answer the question.) 2. Please bring to mind the experience in which you had severe conflict with your spouse (children, friend) in all your life. What do you want your spouse (children, friend) to do for you? When the participants had some difficulties in reading or completing the questionnaire, trained research assistants helped them to fill it out. Completed questionnaires were classified through several discussions by a psychology professor and three doctoral students. Firstly, the PhD students individually reviewed the data as the primary classification and then reached agreement for the independently classified data. Lastly, the psychology professor and doctoral students completed the final classification

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through the process of consensus building. The frequency of responses per each category was examined for men and women separately. The responses that could not easily be assigned as one of the relatedness needs, namely the needs that could not be considered as expectations in interpersonal relationships (e.g., health, social success, and happiness), were excluded from the analyses. Also the answers showing very low frequency (under 10) (e.g., spouse: manners, honesty, and journey; children: communication; friends: support, communication) were excluded. The total number of the responses that the participants provided with respect to their spouse, children, and friends were 371, 345, and 247 respectively, with more answers for spouse and children than for friends.

Results The categorized relatedness needs for each type of relationship with spouse, children, and friends, including frequency of the responses provided by participants, are presented in Table 1. Relatedness needs were classified as six categories for spouse (“love and care,” “having interest in household chores,” “no interference and nagging,” “understanding,” “conversation,” and “respect my words”), seven categories for children (“contact and often meeting,” “honoring parents,” “respect my words,” “independence from their parents,” “giving an allowance,” “getting married,” and “understanding”), and five categories for friends (“contact and often meeting,” “understanding,” “being polite and respectful,” “becoming a closer relationship,” and “everlasting friendship”). The most important categories were “love and care” and “having interest in household chores” for spouse, “contact and often meeting” and “honoring parents” for children, and “contact and often meeting” and “understanding” for friends. In relationships with children and friends, the needs for contact emerged in the first position, unlike the relations with spouses who lived together. “Understanding” was the commonly identified need for all types of relationship, and the need to be understood was more frequent for spouse and friends than for children. The unique needs for spouse were “love and care,” “having interest in household chores,” and “no interference and nagging”; for children they were “communication,” “independence from their parents,” “giving an allowance,” and “getting married”; and for friends they were “being polite and respectful,” “becoming a closer relationship,” and “everlasting friendship.” “Respect my words” was one of the needs for spouse and children but was not for friends. As the common needs of parents for children, “independence from their parents,” “giving an allowance,” and “getting married” are parts of the collectivistic cultural characteristics of Korea. Table 2 reports the response frequency of the relatedness needs for spouse, children, and friends by gender. The contents showing high frequencies for men and women were quite similar. There were some interesting

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TABLE 1 Relatedness Needs for Spouse, Children, and Friends with Frequency Category

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Relatedness Needs for Spouse Love and Care

Frequency 80

Having Interest in Household Chores Understanding

48

No Interference and Nagging Conversation

21 20

Respect My Words

17

Relatedness Needs for Children Contact and Often Meeting

40

48

Honoring parents

30

Respect My Words

17

Independence from Their Parents

15

Giving an Allowance Getting Married Understanding

14 13 12

Relatedness Needs for Friends Contact and Often Meeting Understanding

63 55

Being Polite and Respectful

29

Becoming a Closer Relationship Everlasting Friendship

23 18

Responses to the Open-Ended Question Hope to care for each other Hope to express the love Hope to help out with the housework Having interest in family life Hope to understand me more Hope to have mutual understanding and concession Hope not to interfere Hope not to nag Hope to talk more with each other Hope to be communicated well with each other Hope not to emphasize on his/her own opinion Hope to respect what I say Hope to call to parents more often Hope to make a call and visit parents more often Hope to be more polite to the elderly Hope to honor and respect the elderly Hope to listen to what I say Hope to respect what parents say Hope not to rely on parents and do make their own happy family Economic independence Hope to give me an allowance Hope to get married and have a happy family Hope to understand parents Hope to see from the parents’ point of view Frequent contact and meet more often Hope to have mutual understanding in spite of different opinions Hope to have my thoughts understood Hope to get along with each other in a modest way Hope to be polite despite close relationships Hope to have open and honest relationships Hope not to have a secret between each other Hope not to break up a friendship Hope to have a lifelong friendship

gender differences, especially for the relatedness needs for spouse. Elderly men had a strong tendency to want their spouse to understand them and to respect their words, whereas elderly women wanted their spouse to help with some housework chores.

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TABLE 2 Response Frequency of Relatedness Needs for Spouse, Children, and Friends by Gender

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Category Relatedness Needs for Spouse Love and Care Having Interest in Household Chores Understanding No Interference and Nagging Conversation Respect My Words Relatedness Needs for Children Contact and Often Meeting Honoring Parent Respect My Words Independence from Their Parent Giving an Allowance Getting Married Understanding Relatedness Needs for Friends Contact and Often Meeting Understanding Being Polite and Respectful Becoming a Closer Relationship Everlasting Friendship

Elderly Men

Elderly Women

42 19 26 14 8 14

38 29 14 7 12 3

30 21 12 12 10 5 8

18 9 5 3 4 8 4

38 26 18 12 10

25 29 11 11 8

STUDY 2: THE RELATIONS AMONG RELATEDNESS NEEDS, SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING, AND DEPRESSION OF KOREAN ELDERLY Method PARTICIPANTS Participants were recruited from senior centers located in an urban area of Korea. A total of 193 elderly who were able to understand the questionnaire were asked to participate in the current study after informed consent was obtained. The person had to be married, over 65 years of age, and living with their spouse. About two-thirds of participants (67%) had a high level of education (defined as having either a high school degree or a university degree). If the participants had difficulties in reading or writing, researchers read to them the items of the questionnaire individually and filled it out for them. After 31 of the 193 participants failed to complete the entire questionnaire, the remaining 162 responses were used for the analyses. The gender distribution of the respondents was heavily skewed toward men, with 55 women (34.0%), and 107 men (66.0%), because our samples should have a spouse, but it is not easy to find elderly women who have a spouse. The average

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age of the male and female participants was 74.6 years (SD = 4.40) and 70.8 years (SD = 4.32) respectively. MEASURES Relatedness needs of elderly questionnaire. This questionnaire measured the elderly desires and expectations in close relationships (spouse, children, and friends). It consisted of 18 items, including common needs that the elderly have in relationships with spouse, children, and friends. These items represent the relatedness needs categories identified in study 1. Six items of this questionnaire are about spouses (e.g., “I hope my spouse understands my thoughts and feelings well, even though I do not tell”), seven about children (e.g., “When I am in conflict with my children, I hope they consider my perspective”), and five about friends (e.g., “I hope that we understand and concede to each other”). Responses were made on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (there is nothing) to 5 (there is certainly). The Cronbach’s alpha coefficients for the items for spouse, children, and friends and for the entire scale were .86, .84, .91, and .92 respectively (J. H. Jeon, 2012). Satisfaction of relatedness needs of elderly questionnaire. This questionnaire measured the extent to which relatedness needs for spouse, children, and friends are satisfied. The items of this questionnaire are the same as those for the Relatedness Needs of Elderly Questionnaire, except for the instructions (“Please rate the extent to which you satisfy your expectations for spouse [children, friends]”). Responses were made on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (totally not satisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). The alpha values identified in this study for spouse, children, and friends were .92, .85, and .93 respectively. Happiness index scale. Subjective well-being for the elderly was measured with the Happiness Index Scale developed by Seo, Koo, Lee, Jeong, and Choi (2010). It contained nine items consisting of three subscales of life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect. The score of happiness is calculated as the sum of life satisfaction and positive affect minus negative affect. The nine-item Happiness Index Scale had an alpha of .86 when inverse operation was done for three items for negative affect. Geriatric Depression Scale short form—Korean version (GDSSF-K). Depression for the elderly was assessed with the short form of the Geriatric Depression Scale (S-GDS). This instrument does not include the items related to physical symptoms that are commonly seen among elderly people. Yesavage and Sheikh (1986) developed the short form of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) by selecting the 15 items that are the most relevant to the symptoms of depression from the 30-item GDS. In this study, the GDS Short Form—Korea Version (GDSSF-K) developed by Kee (1996) was used. Reponses for the GDSSF-K were indicated as yes (1 score) or no (0 score) for each question. The GDSSF-K items had an alpha of .88.

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Results

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CORRELATIONS OF DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EXPECTATION AND SATISFACTION OF R ELATEDNESS N EEDS FOR S POUSE , C HILDREN , AND F RIENDS ; S UBJECTIVE WELL-BEING; AND DEPRESSION Correlations among the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs for spouse, children, and friends; subjective well-being; and depression are displayed in Table 3. In order to measure the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs, the satisfaction of relatedness needs was subtracted from relatedness needs. The difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs for spouse was significantly negatively associated with subjective well-being, r(150) = −.33, p < .01). For the types of relationship with children and friends, the correlations of the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs with subjective well-being showed a consistently similar aspect. The difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs for spouse was significantly and positively associated with depression, r(157) = .36, p < .01). The difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs for the other types of relationship consistently showed significant positive correlations with depression. REGRESSION ANALYSES: SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING Stepwise regression analyses were conducted to examine the relative contribution of the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs of the three relationship types (spouse, children, and friends) in the prediction of subjective well-being. Considering that the effect of relationship types on subjective well-being might be gender dependent, the regression TABLE 3 Correlations Among the Difference Between Expectation and Satisfaction of Relatedness Needs for Spouse, Children, and Friends; Subjective Well-Being; and Depression (N = 162) Variables

1

Difference Between Expectation and 1. Spouse − 2. Children .32∗∗ 3. Friends .47∗∗ 4. Subjective Well-Being −.33∗∗ 5. Life Satisfaction −.20∗ 6. Positive Affect −.32∗∗ 7. Negative Affect .24∗ 8. Depression .36∗∗

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

− −.35∗∗ −.56∗∗

− .49∗∗



Satisfaction of Relatedness Needs − .44∗∗ −.34∗∗ −.21∗∗ −.31∗∗ .20∗ .30∗∗

− −.24∗∗ −.14 −.17∗ .22∗∗ .23∗∗

− .78∗∗ .84∗∗ −.73∗∗ −.69∗∗

− .58∗∗ −.30∗∗ −.48∗∗

Note. 1 = Spouse; 2 = Children; 3 = Friends; 4 = Subjective Well-Being; 5 = Life Satisfaction; 6 = Positive Affect; 7 = Negative Affect; 8 = Depression. ∗ p < .05, ∗∗ p < .01.

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TABLE 4 Regression Analyses Predicting Subjective Well-Being from the Difference Between Expectation and Satisfaction of Relatedness Needs for Spouse, Children, and Friends by Gender Difference Between Expectation and Satisfaction of Relatedness Needs Spouse Children Friends

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p < .05,

∗∗

Men (n = 100)

Women (n = 46)

B

SE

β

R2

B

SE

β

R2

−.63 −.22 −28

.25 .18 .28

−.27∗ −.13 −.11

.13 .15 .16

−.44 −.60 .37

.24 .23 .32

−.30 −.42∗∗ .20

.23 .19 .25

p < .01.

analyses were done separately by gender, and the results are presented in Table 4. In the elderly men sample, the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs for spouse (ß = −.27, p < .05) emerged as a single significant predictor of subjective well-being. On the other hand, in the elderly women group, the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs for children (ß = −.42, p < .01) emerged as the unique significant predictor of subjective well-being. That is, the relationship type that dominantly affects subjective well-being is gender dependent. REGRESSION ANALYSES: DEPRESSION To examine the relative contribution of the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs of the three relationship types (spouse, children, and friends) in the prediction of depression, we conducted stepwise regression analyses. Considering that the effect of relationship types on depression might be gender dependent, the regression analyses were done separately by gender, and the results are presented in Table 5. In the male sample, the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs for spouse (ß = .27, p < .05) emerged as a single significant predictor of depression. On the other hand, in the female group, the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs for TABLE 5 Regression Analyses Predicting Depression from the Difference Between Expectation and Satisfaction of Relatedness Needs for Spouse, Children, and Friends by Gender Difference Between Expectation and Satisfaction of Relatedness Needs Spouse Children Friends ∗

p < .05.

Men (n = 100)

Women (n = 53)

B

SE

β

R2

B

SE

β

R2

.30 .06 .08

.13 .08 .13

.27∗ .08 .08

.12 .13 .13

.22 .22 −.14

.10 .09 .13

.35∗ .35∗ −.16

.22 .15 .24

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children significantly accounted for 15% (ß = .35, p < .05) of the variance in depression, and the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs for spouse significantly added 7% (ß = .35, p < .05) to the amount of explanation for depression.

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Discussion In this study, we exploratively investigated the expectations that Korean elderly typically have for important relationships like spouse, children, and friends. We also explored the relations among the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs experienced in important relationships, subjective well-being, and depression. In study 1, “love and care” and “contact and often meeting” emerged as the most salient relatedness needs that Korean elderly have in close relationships. It appears that Korean people, who are strongly influenced by Confucianism and familism, consider harmony in the relationships with family and relatives to be more important than individual freedom (An et al., 2011; Cho, 2006; D. H. Kim, 2001a). Additionally, this result in general replicates the past finding that more satisfaction of relatedness needs for Korean elderly residing in Korea and more self-esteem needs for Korean American elderly residing in United States were associated with a higher degree of happiness (Rie et al., 2006). Notably, the results of study 1 revealed that the relatedness needs of Korean elderly differed depending on the type of relationships (spouse, children, and friends). Needs for spouse were related to the practical and day-to-day interactions such as “having interest in household chores,” “no interference and nagging,” and “communication.” This suggests that the elderly couple want to understand each other by making conversation but struggled to have satisfactory conversation because they easily regard what the spouse said as interference or nagging. Needs for children included the specific contents explaining the relationship between adult children and parents like “independence from their parents,” “giving an allowance,” and “getting married.” It appears that Korean culture enforces strong family ties that make the separation of parents and offspring difficult both psychologically and economically. Finally, needs that were unique to friends such as “becoming a closer relationship,” and “everlasting friendship” show that the elderly hope to keep and promote their friendship or trust. In the result of the frequency of the relatedness needs for men and women, elderly men wanted their spouse to respect their ideas and to understand them, whereas elderly women tended to want their spouse to help with housework together. It is regarded as one of the characteristics of the Korean elderly who are familiar with the male-dominated patriarchal culture. Elderly men in Korea expect their spouse to be submissive, whereas Korean elderly women seem to have bigger complaints about the male-dominated patriarchal attitudes in which

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all the housework is left to women. Additionally, the result showing that elderly women expected their spouse to help with housework is consistent with the earlier findings indicating that elderly couples showed better adjustment in aging when the role readjustment is done properly after retirement (Hong, 2010; T. H. Kim, 2009; D. K. Kim & Kim, 2010; The Korean Gerontological Society, 2002). Earlier findings reported that after the husband retired, the aged couple spent more time together than before, which added to the elderly women’s domestic labor and consequently degraded the quality of the marital relationship. These findings could be interpreted as indicating that the increasing needs of elderly women to ask their husband for help doing housework reflect the developmental characteristics of the elderly couple. Understanding the typical needs depending on each type of relationship allows us to predict the conflict situations or the common themes in each relationship. For the elderly couples, sharing housework, difficulties in communication, and mediating different opinions could be themes causing conflict in their relationship. For the relationship between elderly parents and adult children, estrangement, adult child’s dependence, and economic dependency could be the issues triggering a conflict in their relationships, along with estrangement and stability for friends. In order to develop a stable relationship between each other, the elderly need to understand not only their relatedness needs but also whether their relatedness needs can be accepted within the framework of each other’s values. In study 2, we examined the relationship among the difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs, subjective well-being, and depression. As frustration with relatedness needs increased, subjective wellbeing decreased, and depression among the elderly increased. This result is consistent with the existing studies showing that the match between expectation and satisfaction affects psychological well-being (S. A. Kim & Lee, 2011; Lyubomirsky, 2001; S. Y. Park & Choi, 1984). With regard to the result of regression analyses for men and women, for elderly men, only their marital relationship significantly predicted subjective well-being. In contrast, for elderly women, the relationships with children as well as spouse were important, and the relationship with children predicted subjective well-being more than their marital relationship. The relationships with spouse and children significantly predicted the elderly women’s depression. These results are consistent with the earlier findings indicating that elderly men think that satisfaction of their marital relationship is more important than the relationship with children or friends, whereas elderly women regard the satisfaction of the relationship with children as the most important thing (Chong, Jo, An, & Jeong, 2012; Jang, 2011; S. Y. Lee, 2009; K. R. Park & Yi, 2002). Current Korean elderly remember a time when gender roles were divided much more rigidly. Men were responsible for economic activities and women for nurturing their children and doing housework. Men who shared

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women’s responsibilities or women who shared men’s responsibilities were considered socially undesirable. Therefore, it is not easy for men who have mainly dedicated themselves to economic activities to do housework such as preparing meals or washing dishes. In contrast, it seems that subjective well-being and depression for Korean elderly women are considerably influenced by the relationship with children. Korean elderly women have taken almost full responsibilities for child-rearing and homemaking, so their emotional dependence on their children is greater than that of elderly men. The emotional needs of wives are easily unsatisfied because of their husband’s excessive economic activities, so Korean mothers might have filled it up with closer emotional ties with their children. Consequently, the subjective well-being and depression of elderly women rely heavily on the satisfaction of relationship with children. However, when children become adults and are independent of their parents, Korean mothers who have psychologically relied on their children are exposed to severe emotional vulnerability represented as the empty nest syndrome during the process of separation from their children (Hong, 2010; T. H. Kim, 2009; D. K. Kim & Kim, 2010; Shin et al., 1994; The Korean Gerontological Society, 2002). The degree to which difference between expectation and satisfaction of relatedness needs explained subjective well-being and depression was 10% higher in elderly women than in elderly men. This indicated that elderly women’s reliance on intimate relationships is higher than elderly men’s and that elderly women are more vulnerable to serious frustration in close relationships than elderly men. Considering the especially high reliance on their spouse of Korean elderly men, elderly men need to make aggressive efforts to increase the quality of their marital relationship. The efforts to share the housework are especially considered to be a particularly practical contribution to improve their marital relationship. For this, Korean elderly men may first need to eliminate their reluctance to do housework derived from their rigid gender roles expectations. The marital relationship had less contribution to elderly women’s subjective well-being than the relationship with children. Despite the more frequent contact with husband than with children, the marital relationship contributed less to subjective well-being and more to depression for wives. Therefore, it seems that Korean elderly women need to reduce their dependence on children and to try to enhance the quality of their marital relationship. We expect this study to be helpful in understanding Korean elderly couples and intergenerational conflicts. By exploratory investigation into the relatedness needs for spouse, children, and friends, and by comparing the differences of relatedness needs between elderly men and women, we were able to systematically explore the conflict-prone themes typical to each type of relationship. Furthermore, by examining the types of relationship that dominantly influence subjective well-being and depression between elderly

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men and women, we determined the type of relationship that should be the focus of efforts aimed at improving subjective well-being and reducing depression for the elderly. We hope that this study will contribute to assessing the interpersonal conflicts or crises facing elderly couples or elderly parent–child generations in a Korean society that is being rapidly industrialized. Finally, this study will contribute to solving the unavoidable conflicts between Korean elderly couples and between parents and adult children and to recognizing the efforts necessary for increasing elderly people’s happiness. There are several notes of caution that should attend the interpretation of the current findings. First, a sample of old people living in one town and visiting senior centers was examined. Also the proportion of well-educated persons was higher than in the general elderly population. This means that this sample is not representative, and researchers need to be cautious in generalizing the findings to the entire population of Korean elderly. Second, a significant number of elderly women who visited the senior centers were widows, so the number of elderly men was almost twice as many as elderly women in study 2. Third, the small sample size (50) for elderly women used in the regression analyses limited the power of the statistical analyses. A larger sample is necessary in future research.

FUNDING This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2013S1A3A2054886).

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The relations among relatedness needs, subjective well-being, and depression of Korean elderly.

The first part of the study examined what the relatedness needs Korean elderly have in close relationships (spouse, children, friends) are. The most s...
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