Association among Socioeconomic Status, Health and Function-related Variables, and Onset of Depression in the Case of Middle-aged and Older People in Japan

Author Name SEKIZAWA Yoichi (Senior Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. May 2016 16-E-069
Research Project Research Project on Mental Health from the Perspective of Human Capital 2
Download / Links


Although many studies show that people at low socioeconomic states (SES) are more likely to be depressed, longitudinal studies on SES and depression which take into account health and function-related variables in the case of middle-aged and older people are scarce, especially in Asian nations. By performing multivariate logistic regressions using longitudinal data from the Japanese Study of Aging and Retirement (JSTAR), we investigate the longitudinal association between SES plus health and function-related variables at baseline and an onset of depression two years later for people over the age of 50. We find that, out of the respondents who are not depressed at baseline, respondents with the lowest education levels are more likely to develop depression two years later. This result was maintained after adjusting for total family income and total wealth, but was attenuated and not significant after adjusting for health and function-related variables. We also find that those with any disability in the instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) and intellectual activities (IA) at baseline are more likely to develop depression two years later.