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Social support and depressive symptom disparity between urban and rural older adults in China



Social support and depressive symptom disparity between urban and rural older adults in China



Journal of Affective Disorders 237: 104-111



Depressive symptom disparity between urban and rural older adults is an important public health issue in China. Social support is considered as an effective way to alleviate depression of older adults. This study aimed to investigate the extent to which social support could explain the depressive symptom disparity between urban and rural older adults in China. This study used data drawn from the 2011 China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study with 6,772 observations. Multiple data analysis strategies were adopted, including descriptive analyses, bivariate analyses, regression analyses and decomposition analyses. There were significant depressive symptom disparities between urban and rural older adults in China. Social support had significant association with depressive symptom of older adults while adjusting for covariates. About 25%-28% of the depressive symptom disparities could be attributed to urban-rural gaps in social support, in which community support contributed 21%-25%. Educational level and physical health status also contributed to the disparities. This study only established correlations between social support and depressive symptom disparity rather than casual relationships; and the self-reported measurement of depressive symptom and the unobservable cultural factors might cause limitations. The urban-rural gap in social support, especially community support was a prime explanation for depressive symptom disparities between urban and rural older adults in China. To reduce the depressive symptom disparities, effective community construction in rural China should be put into place, including improving the infrastructure construction, strengthening the role of social organizations, and encouraging community interpersonal interactions for older adults.

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Accession: 065521796

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 29803900

DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.04.076


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