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Depression and Infrequent Participation in Social Activities Among Older Adults: the Moderating Role of High-Quality Familial Ties

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2017
10 pages
This study’s primary objective was to determine whether depression is associated with reduced participation in social activities among older adults, as well as whether high-quality familial ties diminish the negative association between depression and social activities.
As expected, an inverse relationship between depression and social activities was found. The regression models indicate that the depression-inactivity association was weaker among older individuals with strong, positive ties to spouses and children. Additional tests showed, however, that just the existence of familial bonds did not provide a meaningful benefit; the quality of such ties determined their beneficial effect. The study used cross-sectional telephone interview data from a sample of individuals 60 years old and older in Arizona and Florida (n=2,000). The study estimated a series of linear regression models to assess the relationship between depression and social activities, and it then tested whether this association was conditioned by high-quality familial ties, using multiplicative interaction terms. For future research, a longitudinal study of the causal links between depression and infrequent participation in social and leisure activities among older adults is warranted. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2017