Men (not women) found to receive more social support after losing spouse and when suffering from physical health issue in rural South Africa

Older man in South Africa sitting in a field

A study authored by Harvard Pop Center Research Scientist Elyse Jennings, PhD, and her colleagues Margaret Ralston and Enid Schatz, reveals the levels of social support experienced by older adults in rural South Africa after losing a spouse, and/or experiencing a physical limitation or chronic health issue.

Is depression a barrier to receiving social support among aging adults in rural South Africa?

Head shot of Elyse Jennings

A study by researchers affiliated with the population-based study Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa (HAALSI), including Harvard Pop Center Research Scientist Elyse Jennings, PhD, finds that those study participants reporting symptoms of depression were less likely to receive some types of social support, and there were differences according to gender and marital status.

Participation in religious organizations may offer mental health benefits beyond those offered by other forms of social participation

Pop Center Faculty member Mauricio Avendano has co-authored a cross-national study examining whether changes in different forms of social participation were associated with changes in depressive symptoms in older Europeans. Findings show that increased participation in religious organizations predicted a decline in depressive symptoms, while participation in political/community organizations was associated with an increase in depressive symptoms. The study was published in American Journal of Epidemiology and was also referenced…

Post-Katrina Happiness

Mary Waters, Ph.D., M.E. Zukerman Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Harvard University, and Pop Center Yerby Fellow Mariana Arcaya, ScD, are co-authors on a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies titled “Happily Ever After? Pre-and-Post Disaster Determinants of Happiness Among Survivors of Hurricane Katrina.”