Social activity and depressive symptoms in Korean American older adults: the conditioning role of acculturation

J Aging Health. 2011 Aug;23(5):767-81. doi: 10.1177/0898264310396214. Epub 2011 Jan 27.


Objective: This study examined the independent and interactive effects of acculturation and social activity on depressive symptoms.

Method: Using a sample of community-dwelling Korean American older adults (N = 675), hierarchical regression models of depressive symptoms were estimated with an array of predictors: (a) demographic variables, (b) health-related variables, (c) acculturation, (d) social activity, and (e) an interaction between acculturation and social activity.

Results: After controlling for the effects of demographic and health-related variables, both acculturation and social activity were identified as significant predictors. Moreover, their interaction was significant (β = .09, p < .05). Further analysis showed that the beneficial effect of social activity on mental health was particularly strong among those with lower levels of acculturation.

Discussion: Our findings suggest that enhancing opportunities for social engagement may serve to protect and promote the mental health of vulnerable older immigrants, particularly those who are less acculturated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Asian Americans / psychology*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Psychometrics
  • Republic of Korea / ethnology
  • Social Environment