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Original Article The Trajectory of Depressive Symptoms Across Years of Community Care Utilization Among Older Adults: A 14-Year Follow-up Study Using the ‘Korean Welfare Panel Survey’
Il-Ho Kim1orcid , Cheong-Seok Kim2corresp_iconorcid , Min-Hyeok Jeong3orcid
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 2023;56(6):495-503
Published online: October 6, 2023
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1Center for Collaborative Research on Population and Society, Dongguk University, Seoul, Korea
2Department of Sociology, Dongguk University, Seoul, Korea
3Jason TG, Stata Korea, Seoul, Korea
Corresponding author:  Cheong-Seok Kim,
Received: 12 January 2023   • Revised: 5 September 2023   • Accepted: 12 September 2023

While older adults using community care services are known to be vulnerable for depression, community care utilization (CCU) may help to improve the mental health of these elderly. To date, however, it is much less clear how CCU affects depressive symptoms in the elderly population. This study focuses on the trajectory of depressive symptoms across years of CCU among older adults in Korea.
Using the 2006-2019 Korean Welfare Panel Survey, this study is focused on elderly born in 1940 or earlier and selected 3281 persons for baseline interviews in 2006. This consisted of 35 800 person-year observations during a period of 14 years. Panel data analysis were employed to construct years of CCU.
After controlling for covariates, linear term of years using community care was negatively associated with depressive symptoms, but a quadratic term was positively significant. The trajectory of depressive symptoms across the years of CCU follows a U-shaped curve. Older adults in the first year of using community care reported the highest level of depressive symptoms. However, a significant and steady decrease in depressive symptoms was observed during the following 9 years of CCU, which then gradually increased. The level of depressive symptoms at the 14th year of using community care remains significantly lower than the level at the outset of its utilization.
This finding implies that CCU could be beneficial for improving mental health among older adults.

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JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health