Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Work and mental health: the case of older men living in underprivileged communities in Lebanon

  • MONIQUE CHAAYA (a1), ABLA MEHIO SIBAI (a1), NABIL TABBAL (a1), HIAM CHEMAITELLY (a2), ZANA EL ROUEIHEB (a1) and ZEINAB N. SLIM (a1)...
Abstract

This paper examines the association between being in paid work and depression among older adults in three poor urban communities in Beirut, Lebanon. In view of the rapid ageing of Lebanon's population and the growing number of older persons, the deteriorating economic conditions and the lack of pension systems, paid work is an important source of income for older people and deserves special attention. The sample was 328 men aged 65 or more years. Depression was assessed using the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale. The exposure variable was working for pay at the time of the survey, and the covariates included socio-demographic measures, health characteristics, financial resources and social capital. Around one-third of the men were working, and approximately the same fraction were depressed. Adjusted data showed a protective effect of work on depression (odds ratio 0.50, 95 per cent confidence interval 0.25–0.96). This study is an eye opener on the circumstances of disadvantaged older people in a relatively low-income Eastern Mediterranean Region country, a topic rarely addressed in this area of the world. Old age is viewed as a decline in abilities while in reality many older adults are still able and ready to work. Social policies for older people should promote opportunities to work, not only pension schemes.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Abla Mehio Sibai, 215 VanDyck Building, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, American University of Beirut, PO Box 11-0236, Riad El-Solh Street, Beirut 1107-202, Lebanon E-mail: asibai@aub.edu.lb
References
Hide All
Bisschop, M. I., Kreigsman, D. M., Deeg, D. J., Beekman, A. T. and van Tilburg, W. 2004. The longitudinal relation between chronic diseases and depression in older persons in the community: the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 57, 2, 187–94.
Bossé, R., Aldwin, C., Levenson, M. and Ekerdt, D. 1987. Mental health differences among retirees and workers: findings from the normative aging study. Psychology and Aging, 2, 4, 383–9.
Bossé, R., Aldwin, C., Levenson, M., Workman-Daniels, K. and Ekerdt, D. 1990. Differences in social support among retirees and workers: findings from the normative aging study. Psychology and Aging, 5, 1, 41–7.
Bruce, M. L., Seeman, T., Merrill, S. and Blazer, D. 1994. The impact of depressive symptomatology on physical disability: MacArthur studies of successful aging. American Journal of Public Health, 84, 11, 1796–9.
Chaaya, M., Sibai, A. M., Fayad, R. and Roueiheb, Z. 2007. Religiosity and elderly depression: evidence from refugee and non-refugee underprivileged urban communities. Aging and Mental Health, 11, 1, 3744.
Chaaya, M., Sibai, A., Chemaitelly, H., Roueiheb, Z., Al-Amin, H., Chahine, L. and Mahfoud, Z. 2008. Validation of the Arabic short version geriatric depression scale (GDS-15). International Psychogeriatrics, 20, 3, 571–81.
Chan, A. C. 1996. Clinical validation of the geriatric depression scale (GDS): Chinese version. Journal of Aging and Health, 8, 8, 238–53.
Chi, I. and Chou, K. L. 2001. Social support and depression among elderly Chinese people in Hong Kong. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 52, 8, 231–52.
Chou, K. L. and Chi, I. 2001. Financial strain and depressive symptoms in Hong Kong elderly Chinese: the moderating or mediating effect of sense of control. Aging and Mental Health, 5, 1, 2330.
Cole, M. and Dendukuri, N. 2003. Risk factors for depression among elderly community subjects: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160, 6, 1147–56.
Duncan, D. and Whitney, R. 1990. Work and the mental well-being of the elderly. Psychological Reports, 66, 3, 882.
Duval, R. 2003. The Retirement Effects of Old-age Pension and Early Retirement Schemes in OECD Countries. Economics Department Working Paper 370, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris. Available online at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/58/47/32124786.pdf [Accessed 11 February 2009].
Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) 2004. Ageing in the Arab Countries: Regional Variations, Policies and Programs. ESCWA, Beirut. Available online at http://www.escwa.org.lb/information/publications/sdd/docs/04-wg-1–2.pdf [Accessed 11 February 2009].
Fernandez-San, Martin M. I., Andrade, C., Molina, J., Munoz, P. E., Carretero, B., Rodriguez, M. and Silva, A. 2002. Validation of the Spanish version of the geriatric depression scale (GDS) in primary care. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 17, 3, 279–87.
Fountoulakis, K. N., Tsolaki, M., Iacovides, A., Yesavage, J., O'Hara, R., Kazis, A. and Ierodiakonou, C. 1999. The validation of the short form of the geriatric depression scale (GDS) in Greece. Aging (Milan), 11, 6, 367–72.
Gill, S., Butterworth, P., Rodgers, B., Anstey, K., Villamil, E. and Melzer, D. 2006. Mental health and the timing of men's retirement. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 41, 7, 515–22.
Grundy, E. and Holt, G. 2001. The socioeconomic status of older adults: how should we measure it in studies of health inequalities? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 55, 12, 895904.
Harpham, T. and Molyneux, C. 2001. Urban health in developing countries: a review. Progress in Development Studies, 1, 2, 113–37.
Hayward, M. D., Friedman, S. and Chen, H. 1998. Career trajectories and older men's retirement. Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 53, 2, S91103.
Herzog, A. R., Franks, M. M., Markus, H. R. and Holmberg, D. 1998. Activities and well-being in older age: effects of self-concept and educational attainment. Psychology and Aging, 13, 2, 179–85.
International Labour Office 2009. LABORSTA Internet. Bureau of Statistics, International Labour Office, Geneva. Available online at http://laborsta.ilo.org/ [Accessed 29 January 2009].
Kart, C. S., Longino, C. F. and Ullmann, S. G. 1989. Comparing the economically advantaged and the pension elite: 1980 census profiles. The Gerontologist, 29, 6, 745–9.
Kawachi, I. and Berkman, L. 2001. Social ties and mental health. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 78, 3, 458–67.
Kerschner, H. and Pegues, A. 1998. Productive aging: a quality of life agenda. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 98, 1, 1445.
Krause, N., Herzog, A. R. and Baker, E. 1992. Providing support to others and well-being in later life. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 47, 5, P300–11.
LaCroix, A. Z., Guralnik, J. M., Berkman, L. F., Wallace, R. B. and Satterfield, S. 1993. Maintaining mobility in late life: smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and body mass index. American Journal of Epidemiology, 137, 8, 858–69.
Lebanon Ministry of Social Affairs 2006. Living Conditions of Households: The National Survey of Household Living Conditions 2004. United Nations Population Fund Lebanon, Beirut. Available online at http://www.pdslebanon.org/population_documents/index.php?id=6 [Accessed 12 June 2009].
Lee, M. S. and Crittenden, K. S. 1996. Social support and depression among elderly Korean immigrants in the United States. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 42, 4, 313–27.
Luoh, M. C. and Herzog, A. R. 2002. Individual consequences of volunteer and paid work in old age: health and mortality. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 43, 4, 490509.
Makhoul, J. 2003. Physical and social contexts of the three urban communities of Nabaa, Borj el Barajneh Palestinian camp and Hay el Sullum. Unpublished paper, Center for Research on Population and Health, American University of Beirut, Beirut.
Mirowsky, J. and Ross, C. E. 2001. Age and the effect of economic hardship on depression. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 42, 2, 132–50.
Moen, P. 1996. A life course perspective on retirement, gender, and well-being. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 1, 2, 131–44.
Mui, A. C. 1996. Depression among elderly Chinese immigrants: an exploratory study. Social Work, 41, 6, 633–45.
Palmore, E. B., Fillenbaum, G. G. and George, L. K. 1984. Consequences of retirement. Journal of Gerontology, 39, 1, 109–16.
Penninx, B. W., Beekman, A. T., Ormel, J., Kriegsman, D. M., Boeke, A. J., Van Eijk, J. T. and Deeg, D. J. 1996. Psychological status among elderly people with chronic diseases: does type of disease play a part? Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 40, 5, 521–34.
Penninx, B., Leveille, S., Ferrucci, L., Eijk, J. and Guralnik, J. 1999. Exploring the effect of depression on physical disability: longitudinal evidence from the established populations for epidemiologic studies of the elderly. American Journal of Public Health, 89, 5, 1346–52.
Purcell, P. 2000. Older workers: employment and retirement trends. Monthly Labor Review, 123, 10, 1930.
Purcell, P. 2008. Older Workers: Employment and Retirement Trends. Report RL30629, Congressional Research Service, Washington DC. Available online at http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/key_workplace/545/ [Accessed 11 June 2009].
Ross, C. E. and Drentea, P. 1998. Consequences of retirement activities for distress and the sense of personal control. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 39, 4, 317–44.
Saab, B., Damluji, N., Lakkis, N. and Usta, J. 2003. War, peace and the relaxing pill. British Journal of General Practice, 53, 80–1.
Schröder-Butterfill, E. 2004. Inter-generational family support provided by older people in Indonesia. Ageing & Society, 24, 4, 497530.
Sheikh, R. L. and Yesavage, J. A. 1986. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS): recent evidence and development of a shorter version. Clinical Gerontologist, 5, 1/2, 165–73.
Sibai, A. M., Sen, K., Baydoun, M. and Saxena, P. 2004. Population ageing in Lebanon: current status, future prospects and implications for policy. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 82, 3, 219–25.
Statistical Package for the Social Sciences 2003. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, Version 11.0. SPSS Inc., Chicago. Available online at http://www.spss.com [Accessed 1 April 2009].
Steele, D. W. 1996. Old age in Britain: a challenge for a new century. Contemporary Review, 268, 1562, 129–33.
Thoits, P. and Hewitt, L. 2001. Volunteer work and well-being. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, 42, 2, 115–31.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
  • URL: /core/journals/ageing-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed