The Association Between Social Capital and Depression Among Chinese Older Adults Living in Public Housing

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Social capital is a critical resource for physical and mental health among older adults, but few studies have investigated this relationship in Chinese populations, and specifically among those with low socioeconomic status. This study examined the association between depression and cognitive social capital (reciprocity and trust) and structural social capital (social participation) in a community sample of older adults living in public housing in Macau (SAR), China (N = 366). Multivariable linear regressions estimated the associations between dimensions of social capital and depression, while adjusting for potential confounders. Significant inverse associations were found between reciprocity and trust and depression. No association was found between social participation and depression. Poor self-reported health was a robust correlate of depression in all models tested. Future studies are needed to evaluate whether enhancing social capital may reduce depression among Chinese older adults living in poverty.

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