Stressful life events and depressive symptoms: social support and sense of control as mediators or moderators?

Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2001;52(2):155-71. doi: 10.2190/9C97-LCA5-EWB7-XK2W.


Depression is quite common among the elderly members of the Hong Kong Chinese society. This study examined the impact of a series of common stressful life events (SLEs) on change in depressive symptoms among the older people. The respondents were 411 people aged sixty years or older from a survey of a representative community sample of the elderly population in Hong Kong. Using multiple regression models, the authors found that sense of control acted as a mediator in the linkage between the number of SLEs and depressive symptoms, even after controlling sociodemographic, and physical health status were applied. In addition, the social support measured by Lubben Social Network Scale moderated the influence of the exposure to SLEs on depression. Findings suggest that sense of control and social support play distinguished and important roles in the stress-outcome relationship. Service implications were discussed based on these findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Asian People
  • Chronic Disease
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*