Abstract: Age Cohort Effects and Cognition on Depressive Symptoms Among Older Americans Living in the Community (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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124P Age Cohort Effects and Cognition on Depressive Symptoms Among Older Americans Living in the Community

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Ethan Siu Leung Cheung, MSW, Student, Columbia University, New York, NY
Ada Mui, PhD, Professor, Columbia University, New York, NY
Background and purpose: In the past, there were studies focusing on the risk factors for depressions among older adults in different age groups. Yet very few took account of the impact of cognitive status. The present study used Wave 3 National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (NSHAP) to explore the correlation between three age cohorts [the 60s (n=1204); 70s (n=1176); 80 and older (n= 724)], cognitive status, and depressive symptoms among community-dwelling older adults in the United States.

Methods: To obtain a better picture of these associations, the authors included the following predictors for depressions in older adults: Sociodemographic (age, race, education, gender, and household income); Stressors (ADL and IADL impairment, as well as stresses); Social Participation; Quality of Friendship; and Cognitive Status. In order to identify predictors for depression, multiple hierarchical regressions were performed. The 60s sample was the reference group to compare with the 70s and 80s cohorts. For each age cohort group, parallel regression analyses were also conducted and all models were significant.

Results: In the total sample, 53.90% were females, 76.15% Whites, 15.29% Blacks, and 8.56% Asians. Compared to the 60s and 70s cohorts, 80+ cohort was cognitively more impaired [Mean (SD) of MoCA Short Form were 10.7(2.9), 10.0(3.2), and 8.1(3.6)]. There were no age cohorts’ differences in depressive symptoms experienced (Mean of CESD Short Form = 21.03; SD = 4.06). Results showed that age cohort variables had a significant independent effect as well as a joint effect with cognitive status in explaining depression scores. ADL impairment was the only common predictor for depressive symptoms for the three cohort groups, and the association was the strongest for the 60s cohort (b = .31). Other unique predictors for the 60s cohort were lower-income, more IADLs impairment, higher stress, and cognitive impairment. For the 70s cohort, unique predictors of depressive symptoms were female gender, unmarried, and less socialization. For the 80 and above group, correlates of depression are female, White, and a high-stress level.

Conclusion and Implication: Findings confirmed the association between age variations and depressive symptoms among community-dwelling older Americans. It provided insights on the necessity of age-sensitive mental health programs in local communities, to support older adults with depressive symptoms.