Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 133–141 | Cite as

Association between living arrangements and depressive symptoms among older women and men in South Korea

  • Dong Hoon Oh
  • Joon Hyuk Park
  • Hye Young Lee
  • Shin Ah Kim
  • Bo Youl Choi
  • Jung Hyun NamEmail author
Original Paper



We investigated the relationship between different types of living arrangements and depressive symptoms among older Korean women and men.


Data were obtained from a nationally representative cross-sectional health survey conducted in 2009 in South Korea. A total of 60,305 participants (34,172 women and 26,133 men) aged 60 years and older were included in the analysis. The living arrangements were categorised into six types as follows: (1) living with a spouse only; (2) living with a spouse in an extended family; (3) living with a spouse in a nuclear family; (4) living alone; (5) living without a spouse in an extended family; and (6) living without a spouse in a nuclear family. The Korean version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale was used as the measurement tool for depressive symptoms. We used multiple regression analysis to estimate the effects of living arrangement on depressive symptoms.


A total of 16.8 % of the total study population showed depressive symptoms. Living with a spouse only was the most common type of living arrangement (46.3 %). Women and men living with a spouse only were the least likely to have depressive symptoms. However, living without a spouse in a nuclear family and living alone were most strongly associated with depressive symptoms in women (OR 1.81; 95 % CI 1.64–2.00) and men (OR 2.71; 95 % CI 2.43–3.03), respectively.


The prevalence of depressive symptoms are associated with the living arrangements of elderly Koreans. There are gender differences in these associations, that may stem from the different demands of social roles and relationships in the family.


Living arrangement Depressive symptoms Old age Gender differences 



The authors appreciate all of the citizens that participated in the 2009 CHS and all members of the 2009 CHS team.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report in relation to the research presented in this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dong Hoon Oh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joon Hyuk Park
    • 3
  • Hye Young Lee
    • 2
    • 4
  • Shin Ah Kim
    • 2
    • 4
  • Bo Youl Choi
    • 2
    • 4
  • Jung Hyun Nam
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, College of MedicineHanyang UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Institute for Health and SocietyHanyang UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryJeju National University School of Medicine and Jeju National University HospitalJejudoRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of Preventive Medicine, College of MedicineHanyang UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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