Trajectories of social engagement and depressive symptoms among long-term care facility residents in Hong Kong

Vivian W Q Lou, Iris Chi, Chi Wai Kwan, Angela Yee Man Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Background: although social engagement and depressive symptoms are important concerns for long-term care facility residents, the dynamic relationship between them has not been adequately studied. Objective: this study examines the relationship between social engagement and depressive symptoms and changes in social engagement and depressive symptoms among Chinese residents of long-term care facilities over 6 years. Design and methods: a latent growth model was used to analyse six waves of data collected using the Resident Assessment Instrument Minimum Data Set 2.0 in the Hong Kong Longitudinal Study on Long-Term Care Facility Residents. Ten residential facilities with a total of 1,184 eligible older adults at baseline were included in the study. Results: after controlling for demographic variables at baseline, a higher level of social engagement was associated with fewer depressive symptoms. Trajectories of social engagement were significantly related to trajectories of depressive symptoms. Participants who recorded positive social engagement growth reported reduction in depressive symptoms. Conclusion: the findings of our study extend previous research by showing that increased social engagement is associated with decreased depressive symptoms over time. In long-term residential care settings, it is important for services to engage residents in meaningful social activities in order to reduce depressive symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-222
Number of pages8
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Latent growth model
  • Long-term care facility residents
  • Older people
  • Social engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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