Prevalence and related influencing factors of depression symptoms among empty-nest older adults in China

Guogui Huang, Yuanyuan Duan, Fei Guo, Gong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The phenomenon of empty-nest older adults has raised growing concerns in contemporary Chinese society. In this study, we examined the prevalence and related influencing factors of depression symptoms among empty-nest older adults in China at a national level.

Methods: The database of the 2015 China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (N = 8549, aged ≥ 60) was used. The 10-item version of the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale was employed to measure depression symptoms.

Results: The prevalence of depression symptoms was 34.7 % for empty-nest respondents, 32.2 % for respondents living with a spouse only and 43.4 % for those living alone. Multivariable logistic regression indicated that, compared with the non-empty-nest respondents, older adults living alone were more susceptible to depression symptoms (OR 1.194, 95 %CI 1.016–1.405) whereas older adults living with a spouse only were not exposed to an elevated probability of being depressed (OR 0.945, 95 %CI 0.847–1.055). Multivariable logistic regression also suggested that empty nesters who were female, lived in rural areas, had a lower frequency of children’s visits, had lower socioeconomic status and had worse physical health conditions were more vulnerable to depression symptoms.

Conclusions: The association between empty-nest status and later-life depression is mixed. More concerns should be raised about the mental health of empty nesters living alone. Increased attention should also be paid to empty nesters who are female, rural residents and have low contact frequency with their children, disadvantaged socioeconomic status and poor physical health conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104183
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Volume91
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Empty nest
  • Depression symptoms
  • Influencing factor
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic status

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