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Health Soc Work. 2013 Aug;38(3):167-72.

Mind-body techniques, race-ethnicity, and depression among urban senior center participants.

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Silberman School of Social Work, New York, NY 10024, USA.
Silberman School of Social Work, New York, NY 10024, USA.
Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging, New York, NY, USA.
Harm Reduction Coalition, New York, NY, USA.
School of Public Health, Hunter College, City University of New York, USA.


As the older adult population grows and becomes more diverse, more of its members are turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). There are mixed findings regarding racial and ethnic differences in the use of CAM. This article explores racial and ethnic differences in use of a category of CAM known as mind-body techniques (MBT) among senior center participants with symptoms of depression. It also examines the relationship between use of MBT and depression severity. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with a representative sample of senior center participants in New York City, from which a subsample of those with depressive symptoms was drawn. Racial and ethnic differences in MBT use were identified, as was a significant negative relationship between MBT use and depression severity. African American elders were more likely to have used MBT than other racial or ethnic groups. When controlling for race or ethnicity, health status, and barriers to medical care, predictors of depression severity included health status, experiencing barriers to medical care, and Hispanic identity. Findings suggest that being female or younger is associated with a higher likelihood of using CAM. Contrary to some prior research, education level was not associated with use of MBT.

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