Acculturation and depressive symptoms among older Chinese immigrants in the United States: the roles of positive and negative social interactions

Ling Xu, Fengyan Tang, Yiwei Chen, Xinqi Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Immigration is a stressful experience. Social interactions with family members and friends play an important role in the health and well-being of immigrant older adults. This study examined the association between different domains of acculturation and depressive symptoms among older Chinese immigrants in the United States and investigated the roles of positive and negative interactions with family and friends in such associations. Method: We used data from the Population Study of Chinese Elderly (PINE), a population-based survey of community-dwelling Chinese older adults in the Greater Chicago area (N = 3,158). Depressive symptoms were measured by the PHQ-9. Acculturation, positive and negative social interactions with partner/family/friends were all measured by standard scales. Binary logistic regression models were used to examine the relationship between acculturation and the probability of having depressive symptoms. Results: Results showed that only social acculturation was correlated with a higher likelihood of having depressive symptoms after controlling for relevant sociodemographic variables. Results also demonstrated that ‘high positive & high negative’, as well as ‘high positive & low negative’ social interactions had significant moderating effects on the association between media acculturation and depressive symptoms. Conclusion: The study findings suggest that although older Chinese immigrants in the United States with high levels of social acculturation are vulnerable to depressive symptoms, high positive social interactions with partner/family/friends buffer the relationship between media acculturation and depressive symptoms. Community services can help with social acculturation and more positive interactions from partner/family/friends to alleviate depressive symptoms among older Chinese immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAging and Mental Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Keywords

  • Acculturation
  • depressive symptoms
  • negative interactions
  • positive interactions

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