Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Social Work

Abstract

This study explored the extent to which acculturation level, health condition and SES influence depressive symptoms mediated or moderated by perceived respect and current geographical background of 121 Korean-American older adults in the Chicago metropolitan and its suburban area.

A multi-method approach was imported to analyze self-collected quantitative survey data from two groups of 80 participants in Chicago and 41 in the suburbs, qualitative interview data from 4 focus groups, 2 in-depth interviews and GIS (Geographic Information Systems). In the survey, Suinn-Lew Asian Stress-Identity Acculturation Scale, Geriatric Depression Scale-30, Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue, Health Perception Questionnaire-36, 13-item questions for respect, and ZIP codes were utilized.

This study produced results by stepwise and hierarchical regression, ATLAS. ti, and GIS analysis. When their perceptions about health (r(191)=-.417, p<.001) and SES (r(191)=-.335, p<.001) were high, the participants experienced less depressive symptoms. SES and perceived health condition proved to be associated with each other (r(191)=.264, p<.001). The suburban participants had a stronger relationship between SES and perceived health condition than the Chicago participants. Qualitative analysis revealed that acculturation could influence depressive symptoms and that depressive symptoms could also be associated with hope and communication.

The GIS analysis finding confirmed the findings from the quantitative analysis and suggested ways in which to develop and utilize community-based resources from mental healthcare management policy. These findings suggested that services given by service providers need to focus on communication and respect of the older Korean-American immigrants' self-determination, for they depend on it greatly when faced with the sufferings of adjusting to new residences.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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