Neighborhood Context and Psychological Distress among Older Taiwanese Adults: Relationships over Time
Chi Chiao, National Yang Ming University
Li-Jen Weng, National Taiwan University
Amanda Botticello, Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation
Studies continue emphasizing the importance of neighborhood environment on health. Relatively little research has been directed at understanding the pathways through which neighborhood influences on mental health develop among older adults in industrialized Asian nations. This study is to explore the relationships between individual social group participation, neighborhood context and distress trajectories among older Taiwanese adults, with a specific focus on the role of community interaction. Data are from a nationally representative sample of adults aged 60-64 followed from 1989 to 2003. Psychological distress is measured with a subscale of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale. Individual growth modeling used to examine whether differences in community interaction can explain variations in distress trajectories by social group participation. Implications of these findings particularly benefit future policy and programmatic strategies aimed at promoting mental health and improving quality of life among a rapidly growing segment of the Taiwanese population.