J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2019 Nov;23(2):58-64. 10.0000/jkgp.2019.23.2.58.

Living Alone, Social Isolation and Depressive Disorder Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults in an Urban Community in Korea

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea. eliarde@naver.com
  • 2Division of Public Health and Medical Service, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Jongno-gu Community Mental Health Welfare Center, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 5Department of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 6Ryu Ji Min Psychiatry Clinic, Seoul, Korea.


This study was conducted to estimate prevalence of depressive disorder and its association with living alone and social isolation in an urban community in Seoul.
A total of 704 adults who is not relying on long term care services and with age over 65 years were recruited from an urban community in Seoul. Subjects were evaluated by Korean version of Geriatric Depression Scale, short form, Mini Mental Status Examination, in the Korean version of the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease assessment battery, Korean version of Cut Down, Annoyed, Guilty and Eye Opener questionnaire, and Korean version of Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Inventory. Prevalence of depression and suicidal ideation, according to living-alone status were obtained, and risk factors affecting depression were evaluated.
The prevalence for depressive disorder were 10.7% in overall, while prevalence for those not living alone 10.0% and for those living alone, 13.4%. From logistic regression models, the most important risk factor for depressive disorder was history of past mental health problems. Living alone failed to achieve significance as a risk factor of depressive disorder and social isolation predicted depressive disorder only when not accounting history of past mental health problems.
Intrinsic personal vulnerability represented by history of past mental health problems were more important risk factor of depressive disorder than current social situations including living alone or social isolations.


Aged; Mental health; Depression; Social isolation
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