Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 1643–1653 | Cite as

The Relationships Between Functional Limitation, Depression, Suicidal Ideation, and Coping in Older Korean Immigrants

  • Joonhee AhnEmail author
  • Bum Jung Kim
Original Paper


Older adults with functional limitations may be at higher risk for depression and suicidal ideation compared to their counterparts without such limits. This study examined the structural relationships between functional limitation, depression, suicidal ideation, and coping strategies in older Korean immigrants. Using data from 220 community dwelling Korean immigrants (age ≧ 65) in Los Angeles County, path analysis was conducted to test the study hypotheses. The resulting model accounted for 56 % of the variance in suicidal ideation, with functional limitation making significant contribution to suicidal ideation. Meanwhile, depression, which had the strongest direct effects on suicidal ideation, also played a significant role in mediating between functional limitation and suicidal ideation. Furthermore, adaptive coping was significantly associated with both functional limitation and suicidal ideation. Findings provide implications for implementing suicide-prevention programs for older Korean immigrants, especially those living with functional disability.


Suicidal ideation Functional limitation Depression Coping Older Korean immigrants 



The paper was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF- 2012S1A2A1A01031727, PI: Joonhee Ahn). The authors would like to thank Jeane W. Anastas, PhD, professor at the New York University, Silver School of Social Work, for her advisement on the draft manuscript.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Welfare for the ElderlyHoseo UniversityChungchungnam-doSouth Korea
  2. 2.School of Social WorkUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

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