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Keywords:

  • depression;
  • aged;
  • Korea;
  • urban environment;
  • social support

Abstract

Background

Population ageing and rural–urban migration are accelerating in many non-Western nations. This study aimed to investigate: (i) the association between lifetime urban/rural residence and late-life depression in Korea and (ii) modification of associations between depression and social support by lifetime residence.

Methods

1204 urban/rural residents aged 65+were interviewed and GMS-AGECAT diagnoses made. Previous areas of residence were recorded and social support deficits quantified.

Results

Depression was present in 9% and 21% of the rural and urban samples respectively. For the urban sample, depression was not associated with earlier urban/rural residence. Social support deficits were most strongly associated with depression in people with a lifetime rural residence, followed by urban residents with a rural birthplace.

Conclusions

Prevalence rates of depression were increased in the urban sample regardless of previous urban/rural residence. Reduced social support was particularly strongly associated with depression in people with a rural upbringing. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.