The Burden of Elders: Anxiety, Depression, and Personal Networks in Two African Slums

Document Type


Publication Date



Although anxiety and depression have been central topics for scholars and clinicians in the United States, few studies have examined their correlates in sub-Saharan Africa and none have examined large urban slums. Using face-to-face interviews in two African cities, we analyze self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression in a community-based sample (n = 495). Ordinary least squares regression was used to analyze a variety of demographic and social predictors including sex, child-rearing, marital status, education, income, age, and neighborhood for residents of Agbogbloshie (Accra, Ghana) and Kangemi (Nairobi, Kenya). Controlling for other factors, two personal network dimensions were significant. Total network size is positively associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression in Kenya but not in Ghana. However, one factor was predictive of symptoms of anxiety and depression in both locations: the reported percentage of ties with older persons. Higher levels of anxiety and depression are associated with a larger share of older individuals in one's personal network.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.