Depressive symptoms in Brazilians elderly:population-based study

Vanessa Thamyris Carvalho dos Santos, Raildo da Silva Coqueiro, Moema Santos Souza, Aline Rodrigues Barbosa, Jair Sindra Virtuoso Júnior, Marcos Henrique Fernandes

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Objective: To analyze the factors related to the depressive symptoms in elderly of a community with low socio-economic indicators.
Methods: Epidemiological cross-sectional population-based household study. The study included 316 elderly resident of a city in Brazil's northeast Region. Data were collected in January 2011. The depressive symptoms were evaluated by means of a Geriatric Depression Scale (15-item version). The independent variable included socio-demographic factors, health state, functional limitation and life style. Crude and adjusted Poisson regression models were used in the statistical analyses.
Results: The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 20 %. The adjusted regression model showed that the depressive symptoms were positively related to the female sex (PR = 2.00); marital status: single (PR = 2.73) and divorced (PR = 3.59); change for worse (PR = 2.53) or better (PR = 2.86) health state in comparison to the 12 previous months; worse health state in relation to other people of the same age (PR = 2.22); and functional limitation (PR = 1.72). There was an inverse association between the depressive symptoms and financial difficulty (PR = 0.46).
Conclusions: The results suggest that socio-demographic factors, health self-assessment and functional capacity can be stronger depression determinants than morbidity and life style.

Palabras clave

depression, health of the elderly, mental health

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