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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790XOn-line version ISSN 1980-5497


GALLI, Rosangela et al. Active aging is associated with low prevalence of depressive symptoms among Brazilian older adults. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2016, vol.19, n.2, pp.307-316. ISSN 1415-790X.


Active aging is the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security, aiming to improve quality of life as people age. A series of studies had demonstrated that a lower prevalence of depression is found among more active elderly.


To evaluate the association between indicators of active aging and depressive symptoms among the elderly (aged 60 years or more).


A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted with 1,006 elderly people (aged 60 years or over) from a small-sized Brazilian municipality. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Geriatric Depression Scale - 15, with cutoff point ≥ 6 symptoms. Active aging was evaluated using indicators such as: active occupational situation, manual work, reading and physical activities. Data analyses used modified Poisson regression to obtain crude and adjusted prevalence ratios (PR).


Most of the elderly people were: white, women and aged between 60 and 74 years. All the indicators of active aging were associated with the outcome. After controlling for socioeconomic, demographic and health variables, elderly people who worked, participated in groups, did manual work and maintained interests such as reading and talking to friends had lower prevalence of depressive symptoms compared to those not doing these activities.


Active aging approaches may serve as a valuable mental health promotion strategy aimed at the elderly.

Keywords : Depression; Aged; Aging; Depressive symptoms; Physical activity; Cross-sectional studies.

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