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Social participation and perceived depression among elderly population in South Africa

Authors Hao G, Bishwajit G, Tang S, Nie C, Ji L, Huang R

Received 25 March 2017

Accepted for publication 18 May 2017

Published 23 June 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 971—976


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Zhi-Ying Wu

Gang Hao,1 Ghose Bishwajit,2 Shangfeng Tang,2 Changping Nie,1 Lu Ji,3 Rui Huang4

1Zunyi Medical and Pharmaceutical College, Zunyi, 2School of Medicine and Health Management, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 3Cancer Center, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 4School of Pharmacy, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: There is a growing consensus regarding the influence of various psychosocial factors such as degree of social participation on health and disease outcomes, quality of life, and general well-being. Older individuals with diminished motor and physical functionality suffer a heightened risk of social exclusion and loneliness. Previous studies have demonstrated the association between social exclusion and loneliness with mental health among the older population. In the present study, we aimed to investigate whether or not difficulty in social participation has any relationship with perceived depression among older individuals in South Africa. We collected cross-sectional data from the SAGE Well-Being of Older People Study 2010 on 422 men and women aged 50 years and above. Perceived depression and loss of interest in things (eg, personal relationships, hobbies) during the last 12 months were used as outcome variables with difficulty in joining community activities, relationships/community participation, friendships, and visiting family/friends as the main explanatory variables. Findings indicated that the prevalence of self-reported depression and the feeling of reduced interest in most things were respectively 51.9% and 43.8%. In the multivariate analysis, those who reported difficulty in joining community activities had respectively 64% (OR =1.639; 95% CI =1.081–2.583) and 69% (OR =1.685; 95% CI) higher odds of depression and loss of interest in things compared with those who did not report any difficulty. The study concludes that addressing the barriers to engaging in community activities may help minimize burden of depression among the elderly population in South Africa. Furthermore, large-scale studies are warranted to explore the social and structural barriers which constrain community participation among the elderly population.

Keywords: depression, elderly population, social participation, South Africa, well-being of older people study

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