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The role social diversity plays in enhancing mental health literacy among the elderly

The role social diversity plays in enhancing mental health literacy among the elderly Mental health literacy (MHL) is the ability to understand health information originating from different sources. Little is known about ethnic differences in sources for health information, and the effect these differences has on elderly MHL. In this paper, we focus on the social networks (i.e. social connections) of elderly people from different ethnic groups, and investigate the effect these networks have on MHL. Specifically, we focus on the ethnic diversity of one's peers (ethnic diversity) as a network characteristic that can interplay with his\her MHL.Design/methodology/approachThe data used in this study were gathered using a survey among elderly (over the age of 60) Native Israeli Jews (N = 147) and Immigrant Jews from the Former Soviet Union (FSU, N = 131). The survey was used to assess our participants MHL, online and offline sources of mental health information and mental health service utilization. Interviews were also conducted with each participant. The interview purpose was to map the participants' social network (using a sociogram), while indicating the attributes of the participant's peers (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) and the nature of the interaction (online vs. offline, strength of the tie, etc.). A set of hierarchal regression analyses were then used to examine which social network attributes are correlated with MHL levels.FindingsOur findings shows that ethnic diversity within the social networks of Immigrants from the FSU contributed to their MHL more so than for native-born Jews. Specifically, face to face maintained connections with individuals from diverse ethnic groups lead to increased knowledge about how to search for mental health information. Online maintained connections with individuals from diverse ethnic groups, lead to increase attitudes that promote recognition of mental health related issues and appropriate help-seeking.Originality/valueUnderstanding the interplay between the ethnic diversity among one's peers and his/her MHL offers an important additional prism of examining MHL; moving beyond the individual's characteristics and examining his/her social connections as well. The relevancy of these findings for reducing MHL inequalities between native-born and elderly migrants, as well as for ethnic minorities is discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Online Information Review Emerald Publishing

The role social diversity plays in enhancing mental health literacy among the elderly

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1468-4527
DOI
10.1108/oir-03-2020-0110
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Mental health literacy (MHL) is the ability to understand health information originating from different sources. Little is known about ethnic differences in sources for health information, and the effect these differences has on elderly MHL. In this paper, we focus on the social networks (i.e. social connections) of elderly people from different ethnic groups, and investigate the effect these networks have on MHL. Specifically, we focus on the ethnic diversity of one's peers (ethnic diversity) as a network characteristic that can interplay with his\her MHL.Design/methodology/approachThe data used in this study were gathered using a survey among elderly (over the age of 60) Native Israeli Jews (N = 147) and Immigrant Jews from the Former Soviet Union (FSU, N = 131). The survey was used to assess our participants MHL, online and offline sources of mental health information and mental health service utilization. Interviews were also conducted with each participant. The interview purpose was to map the participants' social network (using a sociogram), while indicating the attributes of the participant's peers (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) and the nature of the interaction (online vs. offline, strength of the tie, etc.). A set of hierarchal regression analyses were then used to examine which social network attributes are correlated with MHL levels.FindingsOur findings shows that ethnic diversity within the social networks of Immigrants from the FSU contributed to their MHL more so than for native-born Jews. Specifically, face to face maintained connections with individuals from diverse ethnic groups lead to increased knowledge about how to search for mental health information. Online maintained connections with individuals from diverse ethnic groups, lead to increase attitudes that promote recognition of mental health related issues and appropriate help-seeking.Originality/valueUnderstanding the interplay between the ethnic diversity among one's peers and his/her MHL offers an important additional prism of examining MHL; moving beyond the individual's characteristics and examining his/her social connections as well. The relevancy of these findings for reducing MHL inequalities between native-born and elderly migrants, as well as for ethnic minorities is discussed.

Journal

Online Information ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: May 10, 2021

Keywords: Elderly; Social network analysis; Migrants; Mental health literacy

References