Social support and depressive symptoms among elderly veterans in Vietnam: a cross-sectional study

Tran Thi Phuong, Vu Phong Tuc, Masamine Jimba


In Vietnam, elderly veterans are prone to suffer depressive symptoms from their traumatic experiences. Social support is recognized as a stress buffer. Therefore, we aimed to identify the associations between social support and depressive symptoms among veterans ages 65 and older in Vietnam. A cross-sectional study was conducted from June to August 2010. We contacted male veterans age 65 and older and recruited 828 participants.  They responded to a structured questionnaire completed as an in-person interview conducted by a researcher. Indicators of depressive symptoms and social support were validated in previous studies. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to identify the associations between social support and their depressive symptoms as well as to identify the influential sources of social support among family, friends and significant others. The mean (SD) score of depressive symptoms among elderly veterans was 15.4 (9.2). A significant association was detected between social support and depressive symptoms among the participants (p<0.01). Those who perceived higher levels of social support were less likely to have depressive symptoms. Regarding the sources of social support like family, friends and significant others, support from family (p < 0.01) and support from friends (p < 0.01) were significantly associated with depressive symptoms. However, support from significant others was not significant. Social supports from family members and friends are important factors against depressive symptoms among elderly veterans in Vietnam.


Depressive symptoms; elderly; social support; veteran; Vietnam

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