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Epidemiological study of depression among population above 60 years in Visakhapatnam, India

Manju Sundru, Krishnababu Goru.


Background: As the World’s population is ageing, there is growing interest in various morbidity patterns among the elderly. Depression and depressive symptoms are common in elder people. Often depression is difficult to recognize.

Aims & Objective: The study aims to assess the prevalence of Depression among study population and its relationship with socio demographic factors, co-morbid illness and functional impairment.

Material and Methods: A community based cross-sectional study was done in selected rural & urban field practice areas of Department of SPM by means of simple random sampling. 17,415 populations were screened from 3383 households in both rural and urban areas to identify 1200 elderly aged 60 and above were administered with pretested questionnaire incorporating geriatric depression scale for assessing Depression.

Results: The prevalence of Depression among study population was 31.7% (317/1000). The prevalence was high in rural areas (36%), as compared to urban areas (27%) and increasing with increasing age. It was significantly high among females (37.5%), singles (46%), staying alone (65%), low socio-economic group (34%), those with stressful life events (71%). The most common illnesses among the study population with depression were osteoarthritis (43.9%) cataract (25.2%), hypertension (17.6%), diabetes (7.6%) and heart diseases (3.9%). It was observed that functional impairment was high among those who have depression (6.5%).

Conclusion: Depression is relatively high in rural area, females, illiterates, singles and sufferers of stressful life events or chronic diseases. There is a significant functional impairment with presence of Depression.

Key words: Geriatric; Depression; socio-demographic factors; co-morbid illness; functional impairment.

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