Journal published by the Hellenic
Psychiatric Association

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Depression is the most common mental health problem among older people, posing a critical impact on their well-being and the quality of life. The objective of the present study was to estimate the prevalence of depression in elderly population of an urban area and to investigate the association with various aggravating or protective factors. The sample consisted of 239 subjects, aged >60 years, members of “daycare centers for older people” (KAPI) in the municipality of Patras, W-Greece. A questionnaire was developed to collect basic demographic and socioeconomic data, including three questions from the “European Health Interview Survey” (EHIS), regarding self-reported and/or by a physician diagnosed depression. Moreover, to all participants the Greek validated version of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15) was applied, to screen the elderly for depressive symptoms. The scores of the GDS were a) compared to the corresponding answers of the EHIS questions and b) associated to the various recorded basic parameters. Statistical analyses were performed using the SPSS v. 17.0. The results of the GDS indicated 45% of the studied population having depressive symptoms (36% moderate, 9% severe), while having ever been affected with chronic depression reported 49 (20.5%) and out of them 34 (66.8%) stated to have been diagnosed by a medical doctor. In detail, out of the 162 (67.8%) subjects reporting never have been affected by a depression, 37 (22.8%) and 8 (4.9%) screened positive for moderate and severe depressive symptoms, respectively. In 27 individuals who reported not to know if they have depression, 16 revealed depressive symptoms using the GDS. Depressive symptoms were more frequent in women (54.6% vs 37.4%, p=0.027), in not married, including divorced and widowed, compared to married (55.6% vs 38.9%, p=0.038) and in subjects living alone at home (62% vs 38.1%, p=0.003). Depressive symptoms were more frequent in elderly with chronic diseases compared to elderly without comorbidity (50.8% vs 27.5%, p=0.02). High prevalence of depressive symptoms in elderly population is evident, but rarely recognized. The systematic use of short GDS versions in Primary Care may increase detection rates of depression among the elderly.

Key words: Depression, elderly, Day Care Centers, Geriatric Depression Scale.

K. Argyropoulos, P. Gourzis, E. Jelastopulu (page 39) - Full article (Greek)