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Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2015 Jan;50(1):133-41. doi: 10.1007/s00127-014-0904-2. Epub 2014 Jun 10.

Association between living arrangements and depressive symptoms among older women and men in South Korea.

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Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, 222 Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, 133-791, Republic of Korea,



We investigated the relationship between different types of living arrangements and depressive symptoms among older Korean women and men.


Data were obtained from a nationally representative cross-sectional health survey conducted in 2009 in South Korea. A total of 60,305 participants (34,172 women and 26,133 men) aged 60 years and older were included in the analysis. The living arrangements were categorised into six types as follows: (1) living with a spouse only; (2) living with a spouse in an extended family; (3) living with a spouse in a nuclear family; (4) living alone; (5) living without a spouse in an extended family; and (6) living without a spouse in a nuclear family. The Korean version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale was used as the measurement tool for depressive symptoms. We used multiple regression analysis to estimate the effects of living arrangement on depressive symptoms.


A total of 16.8 % of the total study population showed depressive symptoms. Living with a spouse only was the most common type of living arrangement (46.3 %). Women and men living with a spouse only were the least likely to have depressive symptoms. However, living without a spouse in a nuclear family and living alone were most strongly associated with depressive symptoms in women (OR 1.81; 95 % CI 1.64-2.00) and men (OR 2.71; 95 % CI 2.43-3.03), respectively.


The prevalence of depressive symptoms are associated with the living arrangements of elderly Koreans. There are gender differences in these associations, that may stem from the different demands of social roles and relationships in the family.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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