Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Social capital in ethnic communities and mental health: a study of older Korean immigrants

TitleSocial capital in ethnic communities and mental health: a study of older Korean immigrants
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsJang, Y, Park, NS, Chiriboga, DA, Yoon, H, An, S, Kim, MT
JournalJ Cross Cult Gerontol
Date PublishedJun
ISBN Number1573-0719 (Electronic)0169-3816 (Linking)
Accession Number25662848
Keywords*Social Capital, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, demography, Depression/*ethnology, Emigrants and Immigrants/*psychology, Female, Health Status, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Republic of Korea/ethnology, Socioeconomic Factors, Texas

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 (M(age) = 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 (beta = -0.14, p < 0.05), had limited participation in ethnic community events and activities (beta = -0.15, p < 0.05), and reported more frequent negative interactions with ethnic community members (beta = 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.