Depressive Symptoms in Older African Immigrants with Mobility Limitations: A Descriptive Study

Manka Nkimbeng, Nwakaego A. Nmezi, Zachary G. Baker, Janiece L. Taylor, Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, Tetyana P. Shippee, Sarah L. Szanton, Joseph E. Gaugler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Before, during, and after their immigration to the United States, immigrants face stressful life circumstances that may render them at risk for depressive symptoms. However, there is a dearth of research on the mental health of African immigrants. We performed secondary data analyses of two studies in the Baltimore–Washington area to describe and identify correlates of depressive symptoms in older African immigrants. Methods: Chi square tests, one-way ANOVAs, and linear regressions were used to describe and examine associations between depressive symptoms and immigrant-related risk factors. Results: This sample included 148 participants who had a mean age of 62 (SD ± 8.2). Clinical depressive symptoms were present in 8.1% of participants, and trouble falling asleep for more than half of the days was the most prevalent symptom (20%). Levels of education, income, and migration reasons differed significantly from clinical depressive symptoms, but these were not significantly associated with more depressive symptoms after controlling for covariates. Conclusions: Longitudinal designs may further elucidate incidence, correlates, and long-term effects of depressive symptoms within this population. Clinical Implications: Knowledge of depressive symptom burden and risk factors can inform timely assessment, referral, and treatment of depressive symptoms and other mental health outcomes in older African immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-26
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Older Africans
  • PHQ-8
  • depression
  • depressive symptoms
  • immigrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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