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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(6), 588; doi:10.3390/ijerph14060588

Socioeconomic Disparity in Later-Year Group Trajectories of Depressive Symptoms: Role of Health and Social Engagement Change

1
Department of Social Welfare, Daegu University, 201 Deagudae-ro, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Gyeongsan-si 38453, Korea
2
George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in Saint Louis, One Brookings Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63130, USA
3
Center for Social Science, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Marcia G. Ory and Matthew Lee Smith
Received: 24 January 2017 / Revised: 29 May 2017 / Accepted: 30 May 2017 / Published: 1 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Health Promotion)
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Abstract

This study explored heterogeneous change patterns of South Korean older adults’ depressive symptoms by poverty status, focusing on health status and social engagement changes. We used data from four waves (2006–2012) of the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA). Our sample contained 2461 poor and 1668 non-poor individuals. All were 65 years old or older at baseline. We used latent class growth analysis to identify trajectory groups’ depressive symptoms. Multinomial logistic regression was used to examine how a range of changes in health conditions and social engagement was associated with trajectories among poor and non-poor participants. Among the poor, five heterogeneous trajectories with clear patterns were identified: high-to-moderate, stable-high, slightly-increasing, steeply-increasing, and stable-low. Among non-poor, high-to-moderate, steeply-increasing, and stable-low groups were found. A decrease in health conditions was the most vulnerable subgroup’s (steeply-increasing) primary risk factor. Poor older adults who reduced participation in, or decreased contact with, social networks were likely to belong to the steeply-increasing group. Our study provides impetus for organizational and/or environmental support systems to facilitate social engagement among poor older adults. Future research should examine whether the significance of social engagement among poor elders applies in less-developed and developed countries. View Full-Text
Keywords: later-year depressive symptoms; group trajectories; poverty status; health and social engagement later-year depressive symptoms; group trajectories; poverty status; health and social engagement
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lee, H.; Park, S.; Kwon, E.; Cho, J. Socioeconomic Disparity in Later-Year Group Trajectories of Depressive Symptoms: Role of Health and Social Engagement Change. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 588.

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