We examined the relationship among social support, self-esteem, and depression. The subjects were 1,116 Japanese community-dwelling adults aged between 40-79, who were the first wave participants of the National Institute for Longevity Sciences-Longitudinal Study of Aging (NILS-LSA). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were performed on the Rosenberg's self-esteem scale that supported the superiority of the bi-dimensional structure of the scale marked by self-confidence and self-deprecation subscales. The subsequent causal analyses, using structural equation modeling, demonstrated that social support reduced depressed affect through an increase in self-confidence and a decrease in self-deprecation. By contrast, social support did not show a direct effect on depressed affect. The findings suggest the importance of esteem-improving elements of social support in reducing depressive symptoms.
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