Objectives. This study examines the impact of social ties on the relationship between widowhood and depressive symptoms among the older Korean population.Method. Data were derived from the baseline survey of the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging. The sample consisted of 1,953 men and 2,469 women aged ≥60 years who were married and had at least 1 child. The 10-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale was the outcome measure. Multiple linear regression was used to evaluate the influence of social ties as the mediators and moderators on the relationship between widowhood and depressive symptoms.Results. The quality of relationship between women and their children accounted for 51.52% of the difference in depressive symptoms between married and widowed women, but only 11.36% between married and widowed men. The interaction of widowhood and the quality of relationships with children was significant only among men, and the interaction of this status and cohabitation with married children was significant only among women.Discussion. The quality of relationship with children plays an important mediating role in the relationship between widowed status and depressive symptoms among Korean men and women elders. Cohabitation with children may buffer mental distress for such women, and qualitatively good relationships with children may be important as moderators for the mental health of older Korean men after bereavement.
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