Attitudes toward aging, active coping, and depressive symptoms among middle-aged and older Korean adults: How do they differ by age group?

Eun Young Choi, Sarang Um, Hye-ri Shin, Young Sun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Despite the adverse health outcomes of holding negative attitudes toward aging, little attention has been paid to these attitudes’ role in mental health among the aging population. Objectives: Drawing on the stress coping theory, this study examines whether negative attitudes toward aging and low levels of active coping are associated with greater depressive symptoms, and whether active coping attenuates the increased risk of depression caused by negative aging attitudes. We also investigate how these associations differ in middle-aged and older adults. Methods: A nationwide sample of 500 Koreans aged 55 or above was analyzed. Multivariate linear regression analyses were performed separately by age groups to investigate the independent effects of attitudes toward aging and active coping as well as their interactive effects on depressive symptoms. Results: Our findings showed that more negative attitudes toward aging were related to higher levels of depressive symptoms. There were age group differences in the independent and moderating effects of active coping. For the middle-aged, those with higher levels of active coping had fewer depressive symptoms, while no such significant association was found among older adults. On the contrary, active coping buffered the adverse effects of endorsing negative aging attitudes on depressive symptoms only for the older adult group. Limitations: A causality cannot be inferred by our findings due to the cross-sectional design. Conclusions: The findings provide some of the first insights into how one's aging attitudes and coping style may protect against the risk of depression and how it differs by age group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-387
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume296
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Active coping
  • Attitudes toward aging
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Middle-aged
  • Older adults

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