The association between social contacts and depressive symptoms among elderly Koreans

Jieun Yang, Eun Cheol Park, Sang Ah Lee, Joo Eun Lee, Dong Woo Choi, Wonjeong Chae, Sung In Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: South Korea has an increasing aging population; thus, the management of depressive symptoms in elderly individuals is important. In this population, fewer social contacts might be a risk factor for depressive symptoms. We examined associations between the frequency of social contacts and depressive symptoms among elderly Koreans and factors associated with these symptoms. Methods: Data from 62,845 individuals over 65 years of age enrolled in the 2015 Community Health Survey were used in this study. Logistic regression was performed to test the association between depressive symptoms and social contacts. Results: Individuals who had contact with neighbors less than once a week were more likely to experience depressive symptoms [odds ratio (OR): 1.22, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.10–1.35] compared to those who had contact more than once a week. Individuals who had frequent contact with neighbors and friends, neighbors and relatives, or all three groups were significantly less likely to experience depressive symptoms. Conclusion: The frequency of social contact with neighbors was the most powerful factor associated with elderly adults’ depressive symptoms among other social relationships. Additional senior welfare centers may facilitate the ability of elderly individuals in meeting neighbors, thereby reducing the risk of depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-868
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Investigation
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Korean Neuropsychiatric Association.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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