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Psychogeriatrics. 2017 Nov;17(6):389-396. doi: 10.1111/psyg.12262. Epub 2017 Apr 4.

The association between objective income and subjective financial need and depressive symptoms in South Koreans aged 60 and older.

Kim W1,2, Kim TH2,3, Lee TH1,2, Ju YJ1,2, Park EC2,4.

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Department of Public Health, Graduate School, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea.
Institute of Health Services Research, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea.
Graduate School of Public Heath, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.



This study aimed to investigate the effect of the gap between objective income and subjective financial need on depressive symptoms in individuals aged 60 and older.


Data from the 2011 and 2013 Korean Retirement and Income Study were used. A total of 4891 individuals aged 60 and older were included at baseline. The Generalized Estimating Equation model was used to examine the association between the gap in objective income and subjective financial need and the presence of depressive symptoms, which were measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale.


Compared to individuals in the middle objective income-middle subjective financial need group, individuals in the low-low category (odds ratio (OR): 1.30, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04-1.61) and the low-middle category (OR: 1.26, 95%CI: 1.09-1.45) showed a statistically significant higher likelihood of having depressive symptoms. In contrast, participants in the middle-low (OR: 0.74, 95%CI: 0.54-0.99), high-low (OR: 0.50, 95%CI: 0.34-0.73), high-middle (OR: 0.74, 95%CI: 0.63-0.87), and high-high categories (OR: 0.74, 95%CI: 0.55-0.99) were less likely to exhibit depressive symptoms. Additionally, the lower likelihood of depressive symptoms found in middle- and high-income groups with lower levels of subjective financial need was strong among individuals with chronic disease.


Differences in the prevalence of depressive symptoms generally exist between individuals of the same income category depending on perceived income adequacy. Therefore, it is important to consider discrepancies in objective income and subjective financial need when assessing risk factors for depressive symptoms in older populations.


ageing population; chronic disease; income; late-life depression; perceived income adequacy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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