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Community Social Capital and Depressive Symptoms Among Older People in Japan: A Multilevel Longitudinal Study


Yamaguchi, Miwa; Inoue, Yosuke; Shinozaki, Tomohiro; Saito, Masashige; Takagi, Daisuke; Kondo, Katsunori; & Kondo, Naoki (2019). Community Social Capital and Depressive Symptoms Among Older People in Japan: A Multilevel Longitudinal Study. Journal of Epidemiology, 29(10), 363-369. PMCID: PMC6737188


BACKGROUND: This study aimed to examine the contextual effects of community-level social capital on the onset of depressive symptoms using a longitudinal study design.
METHODS: We used questionnaire data from the 2010 and 2013 waves of the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study that included 14,465 men and 14,600 women aged over 65 years from 295 communities. We also used data of a three-wave panel (2006-2010-2013) to test the robustness of the findings (n = 7,424). Using sex-stratified multilevel logistic regression, we investigated the lagged associations between three scales of baseline community social capital and the development of depressive symptoms.
RESULTS: Community civic participation was inversely associated with the onset of depressive symptoms (men: adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.88-0.99 and women: AOR 0.94; 95% CI, 0.88-0.997 per 1 standard deviation unit change in the score), while no such association was found in relation to the other two scales on social cohesion and reciprocity. This association was attenuated by the adjustment of individual responses to the civic participation component. Individual-level scores corresponding to all three community social capital components were significantly associated with lower risks for depressive symptoms. The results using the three-wave data set showed statistically less clear but similar associations.
CONCLUSIONS: Promoting environment and services enhancing to community group participation might help mitigate the impact of late-life depression in an aging society.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Epidemiology


Yamaguchi, Miwa
Inoue, Yosuke
Shinozaki, Tomohiro
Saito, Masashige
Takagi, Daisuke
Kondo, Katsunori
Kondo, Naoki