Lifetime urban/rural residence, social support and late-life depression in Korea

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2004 Sep;19(9):843-51. doi: 10.1002/gps.1175.


Background: Population ageing and rural-urban migration are accelerating in many non-Western nations. This study aimed to investigate: (i) the association between lifetime urban/rural residence and late-life depression in Korea and (ii) modification of associations between depression and social support by lifetime residence.

Methods: 1204 urban/rural residents aged 65+were interviewed and GMS-AGECAT diagnoses made. Previous areas of residence were recorded and social support deficits quantified.

Results: Depression was present in 9% and 21% of the rural and urban samples respectively. For the urban sample, depression was not associated with earlier urban/rural residence. Social support deficits were most strongly associated with depression in people with a lifetime rural residence, followed by urban residents with a rural birthplace.

Conclusions: Prevalence rates of depression were increased in the urban sample regardless of previous urban/rural residence. Reduced social support was particularly strongly associated with depression in people with a rural upbringing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Health / statistics & numerical data*