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This study examines the effects of social ties (with spouse, children, friends, neighbors, other relatives, and community groups) on depressive symptom levels in U.S. and Japanese adults aged 60 and over. Nationally representative survey data from the United States (N= 1,419) and Japan (N= 2,200) indicate that having a spouse, or increased contacts with friends, neighbors and relatives was associated with fewer depressive symptoms in both samples. The effects of spousal presence were significantly larger in the United States than in Japan. The presence of children was associated with fewer depressive symptoms in Japan only, and this effect was significantly stronger among those currently unmarried as opposed to those who are currently married. We discuss these similarities and differences between countries.