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Social participation and depression in old age: a fixed-effects analysis in 10 European countries

Croezen, Simone, Avendano, Mauricio, Burdorf, Alex and van Lenthe, Frank J. (2015) Social participation and depression in old age: a fixed-effects analysis in 10 European countries. American Journal of Epidemiology, 182 (2). pp. 168-176. ISSN 0002-9262

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Identification Number: 10.1093/aje/kwv015


We examined whether changes in different forms of social participation were associated with changes in depressive symptoms in older Europeans. We used lagged individual fixed effects models based on data from 9,068 individuals aged 50+ in wave 1 (2004/05), wave 2 (2006/07) and wave 4 (2010/11) of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Controlling for a wide set of confounders, increased participation in religious organizations predicted a decline in depressive symptoms four years later (β =-0.190 units, 95% confidence interval: -0.365, -0.016), while participation in political/community organizations was associated with an increase in depressive symptoms (β =0.222, 95% confidence interval: 0.018, 0.428). There were no significant differences between European regions in these associations. Our findings suggest that social participation is associated with depressive symptoms, but the direction and strength of the association depends on the type of social activity. Participation in religious organizations may offer benefits to mental health beyond those offered by other forms of social participation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: ©2015 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
LSE Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HS Societies secret benevolent etc
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2015 11:16
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:16
Projects: Quality of Life, QLK6-CT-2001-00360, SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5- CT-2005-028857, SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812, SHARE-PREP, N° 211909, SHARE-LEAP, N° 227822, SHARE M4, N° 261982, U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, R21 AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG BSR06-11, OGHA 04-064, ERC grant No 263684, R01AG040248, R01AG037398
Funders: European Commission, U.S. National Institute on Aging, German Ministry of Education and Research, Starting Researcher grant from the European Research Council, National Institute On Aging of the National Institutes of Health, McArthur Foundation Research Network on Ageing

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