Immigrant Status Differences in Age Trajectories of Depressive Symptoms among Older Adults of Mexican Descent: The Role of Socioeconomic Resources, Acculturation, Social Integration, and Physical Health

Maria A. Monserud, University of Houston
Kyriakos S. Markides, University of Texas at Galveston

Despite an extensive body of research on immigrant status as an important determinant of psychological well-being in later life, little is known about immigrant status differences in, and explanation for, age trajectories of depressive symptoms among older adults of Mexican descent in the U.S. Drawing on seven waves of data from the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly, this research uses growth curve models to examine the age patterning of psychological well-being in this population group (N = 10,915 person-periods; aged 65 to 99 years). The findings demonstrate that compared to their U.S.-born counterparts, immigrant older adults of Mexican origin have persistently higher levels of depressive symptomatology with age. Socioeconomic resources and social integration partially explain the immigrant status differences in depressive symptoms, whereas acculturation eliminates these disparities. In contrast, physical health has a suppressor effect.

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Presented in Session 23: Psychosocial Factors in Aging