Social Capital in Ethnic Communities and Mental Health: A Study of Older Korean Immigrants

Yuri Jang, Nan Sook Park, David A. Chiriboga, Hyunwoo Yoon, Sok An, Miyong T. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This study examined how social capital in ethnic communities (e.g., social cohesion, community support, community participation, and negative interaction) influences depressive symptoms of older Korean immigrants. Using survey data from 209 participants in Central Texas (Mage = 69.6, SD = 7.50), hierarchical regression models of depressive symptoms were examined with the following sets of predictors: (1) demographics, (2) physical health, (3) sociocultural factors, and (4) ethnic community factors. After controlling for the multiple sets of individual-level variables previously known to be important predictors of mental health, ethnic community factors made a substantial contribution. Higher levels of depressive symptoms were observed among individuals who received lower levels of community support (β = −0.14, p < 0.05), had limited participation in ethnic community events and activities (β = −0.15, p < 0.05), and reported more frequent negative interactions with ethnic community members (β = 0.12, p < 0.05). Findings highlight the importance of social capital in ethnic communities and hold implications for improving older ethnic immigrants’ mental well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9258
Pages (from-to)131-141
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 26 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the St. David’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research (CHPR) Pilot Grant Program (#30-2142-4351, PI-Yuri Jang, PhD).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Depressive symptoms
  • Ethnic community
  • Older Korean immigrants
  • Social capital


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