The Effect of a Communal Lifestyle on Depressive Symptoms in Late Life

Tzvia Blumstein*, Yael Benyamini, Zahava Fuchs, Ziva Shapira, Ilya Novikov, Adrian Walter-Ginzburg, Baruch Modan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This study compares depression levels among lifetime kibbutz members (n = 525) and old-age kibbutz residents (n = 366) with a comparable national sample (n = 412) and assesses the relationship between depression and individual differences related to lifetime in a kibbutz (e.g., health) and those related to current living conditions (e.g., social network). Methods: The analysis is based on data from the Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Aging Study conducted in Israel between 1989 and 1992 and the follow-up during 1993 and 1994. Results: The findings indicate significantly lower depressive symptomatology among women, but not among men, residing in kibbutz communities. The women's lower level of depressive symptoms appears to be a result of better physical and mental functioning among kibbutz members and of such favorable lifestyle characteristics as frequent contact with their children among old-age kibbutz residents. Discussion: Both lifetime and current living conditions contribute to better mental health of women in the kibbutz at older ages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-174
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004


FundersFunder number
National Institute on AgingR01AG005885
National Institute on Aging


    • Depression
    • Gender differences
    • Israel
    • Kibbutz
    • Old-old


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