Despite consistent reports over many years of a greater prevalence of depression among women, mechanisms underlying the gender difference remain unclear. Mechanisms relevant to immigrant elderly populations are virtually unexplored. The present study examined gender variations in depressive symptoms using a community sample of 230 older Korean American immigrants (Mage = 69.8; standard deviation = 7.05) in Florida. We were interested in examining not only mean differences but gender differences in the impact of demographic variables (age, marital status, and education), health constraints (chronic conditions and functional disability), and personal resources (sense of control, social network, and acculturation) on depressive symptoms. Consistent with previous literature, women scored higher on depressive symptoms than men. In a hierarchical regression model, women and those with more chronic conditions, greater functional disability, and lower sense of control were found to have more depressive symptoms. The interaction of gender-by-chronic conditions was found to be significant, and further analysis indicated that the association of chronic conditions with mental well-being was stronger for women. The findings suggest that among older Korean immigrants, women are at particular risk of declining psychological well-being in the face of physical health problems and call attention to the need for interventions designed to promote their physical and mental health.
- Depressive symptoms
- gender differences
- older Korean American immigrants