Social Contexts of Mental Weil-Being in Later Life


Address correspondence to Sara Honn Quails, Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, CO 80933–7150. E-mail:


Extending the preceding review, this commentary argues for serious attention to the social contexts of mental health of older adults in research and practice. Social gerontology research focuses primarily on summative or aggregate variables with little focus on mechanism, despite growing evidence that mechanisms as diverse as immunosuppression and expressed emotion influence mental health. Increased linkages between the macro-level and microlevel data are required to provide the theoretical models needed to shape practice. Current evidence is deemed sufficient, however, to alter the frameworks we use for both diagnosis and treatment.