Does productive role occupancy prevent depression among older rural Chinese adults? A latent difference score analysis

Hsin Yi Hsiao, Ling Xu, Iris Chi, Merril Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Depression has been reported as common among older rural Chinese adults, who often face limited access to healthcare services and resources. Empirical studies conducted in the West have shown beneficial effects of productive engagement on psychological well-being. However, the mechanisms by which engagement in productive activities leads to and results from improved mental health remain unclear. Method: Utilizing role enhancement and social resource theories, the present study investigated the relationship between productive role occupancy and depression among older Chinese adults in rural areas over 8 years. Using four waves of data from the Well-Being of Elderly in Anhui Province of China study, we employed bivariate latent different score analysis to examine the temporal sequence of productive role occupancy and depression among 1696 older adults. Results: Findings indicated that trajectories of productive role occupancy and depression rose across the four waves. There is evidence for self-feedback effects in productive role occupancy and depression. Depression had a significant effect on subsequent changes in productive role occupancy (β = -0.042, p = 0.000), whereas productive role occupancy had no significant effect on subsequent changes in depression. Conclusion: The mental well-being of participants worsened over time. Engaging in productive activities had no effect on mental health status, and rural older adults with poor mental health were less likely to engage in productive activities over time. Findings suggest that psychological well-being as a personal resource significantly affects how productively Chinese adults age in late life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2014

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Latent difference score model
  • Older rural Chinese adults
  • Productive role occupancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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