Psychological Distress in Residents of a Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community
Households with one or more residents age 65 and over make up 47% of the Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NNORC) of Albany, New York. This two-square-mile area is served by a NNORC interfaith partnership of several religious, health, educational and other community service organizations providing supportive services, social activities, and enhanced access to health and social services. This survey was designed to identify potential areas of need requiring new or expanded services. A total of 226 NNORC residents age 60 and over completed questionnaires measuring demographics, aspects of health, help-seeking, mastery, loneliness, health locus of control, and psychological distress. Approximately 18% of the residents reported at least one symptom of depression during the previous week, while 50% reported at least one symptom of anxiety during the past month. The best-fitting linear regression model indicated that overall psychological distress was significantly higher in residents who were younger, living alone, and reported higher levels of loneliness, lower levels of mastery, worse general health, or a negative change in health over the last year (F = 17.823, p = .000). Over the past year, very few respondents reported accessing help from most sources. Although 67% reported receiving help from their personal care physicians, less than 5% reported help from religious leaders, counselors, social workers, psychiatrists, support group programs, or the NNORC. These findings imply that more vigorous outreach efforts may be needed to identify and link at-risk residents to mental health and other support services available through NNORC.
Zvi D. Gellis, Kimberly P. McClive-Reed, Bonnie Kenaley, and Miriam Adler. "Psychological Distress in Residents of a Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community" Society for Social Work and Research Conference. New Orleans. Jan. 2009.
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