|HOPELESSNESS AMONG MIDDLE-AGED AND OLDER ADULTS: A COMPARISON OF NATIVE WHITES, NATIVE MINORITIES, AND IMMIGRANTS
|Year of Publication
|Guo, M, Wang, Y, Carter, K
|hopelessness, Immigrants, middle-aged adult, minorities, Older adult, Whites
Abstract Sense of hopelessness is closely linked to poor physical/mental health and elevated suicidal risk. The aging and immigration processes put middle-aged and older immigrants at a greater risk of feeling hopeless. However, we know little about hopelessness among this population. This study asks two questions: do middle-aged and older immigrants have higher levels of hopelessness compared to native-born Whites and native-born ethnic minorities? If so, what factors contribute to such differences? Data was from the 2018 psychosocial assessment of the Health and Retirement Study (N = 5,534). ANOVA was used to compare levels of hopelessness among three groups of middle-aged/older adults (50 yrs+): native-born Whites (n =3,603), native-born minorities (n = 1,209), and immigrants (n = 722). Linear regressions were used to examine the association between nativity/race and hopelessness, with five sets of explanatory variables (i.e., SES, health, social support, social engagement, and neighborhood characteristics) entered in the models individually and then collectively. The findings showed that middle-aged/older immigrants had the highest levels of hopelessness, followed by native minorities, and then native Whites. Controlling for each set of the explanatory variables respectively reduced the group differences between native Whites and native ethnic minorities, but not between Whites and immigrants. When controlling for all the explanatory variables, the levels of hopelessness no longer differed significantly between immigrants and native Whites. Findings suggest that immigrants’ multiple disadvantages in personal, family, and social lives may contribute to their heightened levels of hopelessness. Interventions are sorely needed to protect against hopelessness for this population.