Objectives: Higher levels of depression have been documented among older adults who reside in an assisted living facility, compared with those who remain in their own homes. The aims of the current study were to test whether the relationship between housing type and depressive symptoms was mediated by a sense of belonging and whether housing type and sense of belonging interact to influence the depressive symptoms among older adults (moderation model).Method: A sample of 257 older adults who lived in their own homes and 166 older adults who lived in an assisted living facility completed the psychological subscale of the Sense of Belonging Instrument and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale.Results: Results showed that a sense of belonging partially mediated the relationship between housing type and depressive symptoms, such that living in a nursing home was associated with lower levels of belonging, and lower levels of belonging were, in turn, associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms. Residing in an assisted living facility was associated with depressive symptoms at low and average levels of belonging.Conclusion: Results highlight the need for more research on the role of sense of belonging as an influencing factor on depressive symptoms among institutionalised older adults for both theoretical and treatment goals.
Objectives: Living alone is a risk factor for depressive symptoms among older men, and is likely to occur due to belongingness needs being unmet. It is proposed the living alone-sense of belonging and living alone-depressive symptoms relations are stronger for gay men than heterosexual men, due to different family circumstances. This research tested a moderated mediation model, specifically whether the relationship between living alone and depressive symptoms is mediated by sense of belonging, and whether the living alone-sense of belonging and living alone-depressive symptoms relationships are moderated by sexual orientation. Method: A community sample of 169 Australian gay men aged 65 to 93 years and 187 Australian heterosexual men aged 65 to 94 years completed the Psychological subscale of the Sense of Belonging Instrument and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Results: Results supported the simple mediation model, with living alone being associated directly and indirectly with depressive symptoms via sense of belonging. The conditional indirect effect of living alone on depressive symptoms via sense of belonging was not significant, and therefore the moderated mediation model was not supported. Conclusion: Results imply that older men who live alone are at increased risk of depressive symptoms directly and indirectly via lower levels of sense of belonging.