Social activity and depressive symptoms in Korean American older adults: The conditioning role of acculturation

Yuri Jang, David A. Chiriboga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined the independent and interactive effects of acculturation and social activity on depressive symptoms. Method: Using a sample of community-dwelling Korean American older adults (N = 675), hierarchical regression models of depressive symptoms were estimated with an array of predictors: (a) demographic variables, (b) health-related variables, (c) acculturation, (d) social activity, and (e) an interaction between acculturation and social activity. Results: After controlling for the effects of demographic and health-related variables, both acculturation and social activity were identified as significant predictors. Moreover, their interaction was significant (? =.09, p <.05). Further analysis showed that the beneficial effect of social activity on mental health was particularly strong among those with lower levels of acculturation. Discussion: Our findings suggest that enhancing opportunities for social engagement may serve to protect and promote the mental health of vulnerable older immigrants, particularly those who are less acculturated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-781
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The project was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health Research Grant Program ( 1R21MH081094 ; PI—Yuri Jang, PhD).


  • Korean American elders
  • acculturation
  • depressive symptoms
  • social activity


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