The mediating role of loneliness in the relation between social engagement and depressive symptoms among older korean americans: Do men and women differ?

Nan Sook Park, Yuri Jang, Beom S. Lee, William E. Haley, David A. Chiriboga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives.This study conceptualized loneliness as a mediator in the relation between social engagement and depressive symptoms and explored gender differences in the mediation model. Various indices of social engagement were considered including living arrangement, social network, and activity participation.Method.Using data from 674 community-dwelling Korean American older adults, we first examined the mediation effect of loneliness in the relation between each of 3 indices of social engagement (not living alone, social network, and activity participation) and depressive symptoms. Subsequently, gender differences in the mediation model were examined.Results.As hypothesized, loneliness was found to mediate the relation between each of the indices of social engagement and depressive symptoms in both men and women. We also observed gender differences in the strength of mediating effects; the effect of living alone was more likely to be mediated by loneliness among men, whereas women showed greater levels of mediation in the models with social network and activity participation.Discussion.Our findings suggest that loneliness may explain the mechanism by which deficits in social engagement exerts its effect on depressive symptoms and that gender differences should be considered in interventions targeting social engagement for mental health promotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-201
Number of pages9
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding Data used in this study were collected with support from the National institute of Mental Health Research Grant Program (R21MH081094; Pi—Y. Jang, PhD).

Keywords

  • Depressive symptoms
  • Gender differences
  • Loneliness
  • Older Korean Americans
  • Social engagement

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The mediating role of loneliness in the relation between social engagement and depressive symptoms among older korean americans: Do men and women differ?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this