J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2000 Dec;4(2):154-163.

Epidemiological Study of Geriatric Depression in a Korea Urban Area

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Korea University Research Institute of Mental Health, Seoul, Korea.


Depression in the elderly is a major health concern that can be life threatening if not recognized and treated. Despite considerable interest, there in no consensus regarding the prevalence of depression in later life. This study was aimed to investigate the prevalence of major depressive disorder in the population over age 65 years and provide fundamental data for community mental health programs. METHOD: 500 elderly people aged over 65 years and oner in Kwachon were interviewed according to DSM-IV and examined Geriatric Depression Scale(GDS), Korea Depression Scale(KDS), MMSE-K, Korea-Dementia Rating Scale(K-DRS), etc. by trained researchers.
Of the sample, prevalence of mild, moderate and severe depressive symptoms are 18.8%, 7.4%, and 17.8%, respectively. Prevalence of major depressive disorder is found to be 7.8%. There is no significant differences between depressive & non-depressive groups in the sociodemographic variables such as sex, age, education, family type, etc. Major depressive disorder is associated with physical illness, stressful life events, and cognitive dysfunction.
The results showed similar prevalence rates to other epidemiological studies. Depressed group showed more psychological distress, stressful life events and cognitive dysfunctions than non-depressed group. Accurate and early diagnosis and adequate treatment favor a good prognosis.


Elderly; Epidemiology; Depression
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