The relationship between living alone, sense of belonging, and depressive symptoms among older men: The moderating role of sexual orientation

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Abstract

Living alone is a risk factor for depressive symptoms among older men, and is likely to occur due to belongingness needs being unmet. It is proposed the living alone-sense of belonging and living alone-depressive symptoms relations are stronger for gay men than heterosexual men, due to different family circumstances. This research tested a moderated mediation model, specifically whether the relationship between living alone and depressive symptoms is mediated by sense of belonging, and whether the living alone-sense of belonging and living alone-depressive symptoms relationships are moderated by sexual orientation. Method: A community sample of 169 Australian gay men aged 65 to 93 years and 187 Australian heterosexual men aged 65 to 94 years completed the Psychological subscale of the Sense of Belonging Instrument and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Results: Results supported the simple mediation model, with living alone being associated directly and indirectly with depressive symptoms via sense of belonging. The conditional indirect effect of living alone on depressive symptoms via sense of belonging was not significant, and therefore the moderated mediation model was not supported. Conclusion: Results imply that older men who live alone are at increased risk of depressive symptoms directly and indirectly via lower levels of sense of belonging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Dec 2018

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