Social participation and depressive symptoms in community-dwelling older adults: Emotional social support as a mediator

Eunsoo Choi, Kyu Man Han, Jisoon Chang, Youn Jung Lee, Kwan Woo Choi, Changsu Han, Byung Joo Ham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies have documented the protective effects of social participation on depression in older adults. In this study, we investigated the association between social participation and depressive symptoms and the associated gender difference in older adults. In addition, we explored the mediating role of emotional social support in the association between social participation and depressive symptoms. We collected data from 4751 community-dwelling adults aged 60 and above from the Korean Retirement and Income Study (KReIS) conducted in 2017 and 2018. The relationship between social participation (participation in different types of activities, frequency of participation, and the number of activities participated) and the risk for depressive symptoms was examined. Older adults who participated in social activity, volunteer work, and donation had decreased risk of depressive symptoms. More frequent and more diverse participation in activities further reduced the risk. Overall, women benefited more from social participation than men. Importantly, emotional social support significantly mediated the relationship between social participation and depressive symptoms. Social participation was associated lower odds for depression in older adults, particularly in older women. Our findings provided one of very few pieces of evidence that documents the mediating role of emotional social support in the relationship between social participation and depression among the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Emotional social support
  • Late-life depression
  • Social participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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