Acculturation stress and depression among Asian immigrant elders

Soc Work. 2006 Jul;51(3):243-55. doi: 10.1093/sw/51.3.243.


This study examines the association between acculturation stress and depressive symptoms in a regional probability sample (n = 407) of six groups of Asian immigrant elders (Chinese, Korean, Indian, Filipino,Vietnamese, and Japanese). Findings suggest that about 40 percent of the sample were depressed, indicating higher depression rates than found in other studies of older American or Asian elderly samples in the United States and Asia. Multiple regression analyses indicated that acculturation stress caused by elders' perception of a cultural gap between themselves and their adult children was associated with high depression levels. Other predictors of depression were poor perceived health, stressful life events, religiosity, proximity of children, assistance received from adult children, and longer residence in the United States. Data suggest that depression is prevalent among urban Asian immigrant elders and that there is great heterogeneity among Asian ethnic subgroups. Implications for social work practice are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian / psychology*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New York City
  • Stress, Psychological* / complications
  • United States / epidemiology