J Korean Geriatr Soc.  2005 Dec;9(4):291-300.

A Community Study of Depression in Old Age

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. suhgh@chol.com
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


S: Depression in old age has significant negative impact on physical health and social activities, which may greatly burden a society with increased costs of use of health care resources and may seriously hamper individual's quality of life. This study aimed to identify the prevalence and risk factors of depression in older community population. METHOD: By the random sampling, study population(n=1,300) was selected out of total population of the elderly aged 65 years or older in Asan city(N=14,977). Two-phase community survey method was used; the Korean version of the Geriatric Mental State Schedule(GMS-K) was used as a screening instrument to define caseness group by trained interviewers, while board-certified psychiatrists confirmed clinical diagnoses according to the DSM-IV criteria by face-to-face interview of subjects for the Stage 2 study.
Of 1,300 subjects, 1,246 elderly completed the stage 1 screening interview(=95.9%). Prevalence of all depressive disorders were 10.5%(male 7.4%, female 12.8%); 8.7% in major depression(male 6.3%, female 10.6%), 0.5% in dysthymic disorder(male 0.4%, female 0.6%), and depressive disorder NOS 0.5%(male 0.2%, female 0.7%). A high risk of depressive disorder was found among elderly women(OR= 1.54, 95% CI 1.08-2.20) and among those with physical illnesses(OR=1.82, 95% CI 1.33-2.48), especially those with vascular risk factors(OR=1.96, 95% CI 1.43-2.69).
The association between physical health and depression in old age is a consistent finding across world. Systemic efforts to reduce incidence of depression and especially to prevent and treat vascular risk factors may be able to improve mental health in the elderly.


Geriatric depression; Prevalence; Major depression; Vascular risk factor; Geriatric Mental State Schedule(GMS); Community; Dysthmia; Gender
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