J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2012 Dec;16(2):97-103.

Depressive Symptomatology among the Living-Alone Elderly : Hopelessness and Boredom

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. mjcho@snu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Bucheon Geriatric Medical Center, Bucheon, Korea.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Inha University Hospital, Incheon, Korea.
  • 5Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.


The aim of this study is to examine the symptom characteristics of depression in the elderly who live alone.
This study is a community-based, cross-sectional study that included 915 elderly subjects aged 65 years and over without cognitive impairment. The Korean version of the Geriatric Depression Scale Short Form (SGDS-K) was used for the evaluation of depressive symptoms. Participants were classified into three groups ; 1) living with their spouse and other family members, 2) living without their spouse (separated, divorced, or widowed) but with other family members, 3) living alone. The odds ratios of each item of SGDS-K were evaluated by logistic regression using the first group as the reference group. Adjustments were done for age, sex, education years, insurance, presence of illness, drinking, smoking and exercise.
The living-alone elderly were at increased risk of reporting 'hopelessness' (AOR 1.50, 95% CI 1.03-2.18, p=0.033) and 'boredom' (AOR 1.57, 95% CI 1.08-2.23, p=0.018). The depressive symptoms of the elderly who were living with family members other than spouse were not significantly different from those of the reference group.
Living alone is related to depression in the elderly, especially to the symptoms of hopelessness and boredom.


Aged; Living arrangement; Depressive symptom; Depressive disorder; Suicide; Sex differences
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