Associate Professor Joan Davitt is a co-author of new research published in Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine. "Loneliness, Depressive Symptoms, and Cognitive Functioning Among U.S. Chinese Older Adults," was published earlier this month.
Objective: Loneliness has been associated with cognitive functioning in the general older adult population. Previous studies further indicate that loneliness has a strong association with depressive symptoms and the two constructs can reinforce each other to diminish well-being. However, such relationships have not been examined in U.S. Chinese older adults. This study attempts to bridge this knowledge gap.
Method: Data were drawn from a population-based study of 3,159 U.S. Chinese older adults in the Greater Chicago area. Stepwise multivariate regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between loneliness, depressive symptoms, and global cognitive functioning.
Results: Loneliness was associated with poor global cognitive functioning in U.S. Chinese older adults, though the relationship became nonsignificant after adjustment for depressive symptoms. The interaction term between loneliness and cognitive functioning was statistically significant (p < .01). The findings further highlight the importance of age, education, number of children, number of people in household, and length of residence in the U.S. in cognitive functioning among U.S. Chinese older adults.
Discussion: The study findings indicate that loneliness and depressive symptoms act together to influence cognitive functioning in U.S. Chinese older adults. Research and clinical implications of the findings are discussed.