Community social capital and inequality in depressive symptoms among older Japanese adults: A multilevel study

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Although studies have suggested that community social capital contributes to narrow income-based inequality in depression, the impacts may depend on its components. Our multilevel cross-sectional analysis of data from 42,208 men and 45,448 women aged 65 years or older living in 565 school districts in Japan found that higher community-level civic participation (i.e., average levels of group participation in the community) was positively associated with the prevalence of depressive symptoms among the low-income groups, independent of individual levels of group participation. Two other social capital components (cohesion and reciprocity) did not significantly alter the association between income and depressive symptoms.HighlightsCommunity social capital might be protective towards depression in older adults.Community civic participation may enlarge the income-based gap in depression.Considering bright and dark sides of social capital is necessary for intervention.

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