|Title||Depressive Symptoms and Loneliness Among Black and White Older Adults: The Moderating Effects of Race.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Authors||Taylor, HO, Nguyen, AW|
|Journal||Innovation in Aging|
|Keywords||Mental Health, Negative interactions, Social networks, Social Support|
Background and Objectives: Loneliness is consistently linked to worse depression/depressive symptoms; however, there are few studies that have examined whether the relationship between loneliness and depressive symptoms varies by race. The purpose of this study was to determine whether race moderated the relationship between loneliness and depressive symptoms.
Research Design and Methods: Data come from the 2014 wave of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) Core survey and Psychosocial Leave-Behind Questionnaire; only black and white older adults were included in the analysis ( = 6,469). Depressive symptoms were operationalized by the eight-item Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale; however, the "felt lonely" item was removed given concerns with collinearity. Loneliness was operationalized using the Hughes 3-Item Loneliness Scale. Sociodemographic variables included gender, age, education, household income, employment status, marital status, and living alone or with others. Furthermore, social support and negative interactions from family members and friends, and religious service attendance were included in the analysis. Lastly, we created an interaction term between race and loneliness. All analyses used survey weights to account for the complex multistage sampling design of the HRS. Missing data were multiply imputed.
Results: In multivariable analysis, we found race significantly moderated the relationship between loneliness and depressive symptoms while controlling for sociodemographic covariates, social support and negative interaction variables, and religious service attendance.
Discussion and Implications: Our findings demonstrate a differential racial effect for loneliness and depressive symptoms. For both blacks and whites, greater loneliness affected depressive symptoms; however, the effect was stronger among whites than it was for blacks. Given this is one of the first studies to examine the differential effects of race on loneliness and depressive symptoms, more research is necessary to determine the consistency of these results.
|PubMed Central ID||PMC7739884|