Methods This study used a cross sectional survey design. One hundred and twenty-nine participants were recruited through 16 city councils in Busan, Korea. The data were collected by a continuing education program in Pusan National University, Korea through a mail survey. All participants were age 60 and over (M = 66.3, SD = 5.6). First, the principle component analysis was conducted to identify common factors underlying ageism, self-efficacy, and depression instruments. Second, structural equation model (SEM) was used to determine the structural relationships among latent constructs such as ageism, self-efficacy, and depression. The study used the product of coefficient tests to examine the statistical significance of the mediating variable, self-efficacy.
Results Findings indicated that the hypothesized model fit well with sample data (c2 = 26.80, df = 20, p = 0.14, CFI = 0.98, RMSEA = 0.05). The direct relationship between ageism and depression was significant (p < .05). However, when the self-efficacy served as a mediator in the relationship between ageism and depression, the relationship between them was not significant anymore. The test of a specific indirect effect showed that the mediating effect of self-efficacy between ageism and depression was statistically significant (p < .05). The hypothesized model based on the relationships between ageism and self-efficacy accounts for 60% of the variances in depression.
Conclusions and Implications The results indicate that self-perception of aging predicted depression and self-efficacy mediates this relationship. That is, older adults who have a positive self-perception of aging were more likely to have a higher self-efficacy and to be less depressed. Self-perception of aging and self-efficacy might be important pathways which impact Korean older persons' mental health. Interventions to help older persons release their own ageism might be effective to prevent and alleviate depression. Self-perception of aging and self-efficacy should be considered when developing strategies to prevent and treat depression in older persons.