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Dementia & Neuropsychologia

Print version ISSN 1980-5764


CESAR, Karolina G. et al. Prevalence of depressive symptoms among elderly in the city of Tremembé, Brazil: Preliminary findings of an epidemiological study. Dement. neuropsychol. [online]. 2013, vol.7, n.3, pp.252-257. ISSN 1980-5764.

Depression is a heterogeneous mental disease classified as a set of disorders, which manifest with a certain duration, frequency and intensity. The prevalence of depression in the elderly ranges from 0.5 to 16%.


To establish, in an epidemiological study, the prevalence of significant depressive symptoms in the population aged 60 years or older.


Results of a cross-sectional epidemiological study, involving home visits, being carried out in the city of Tremembé, Brazil, were reported. The sample was randomly selected by drawing 20% of the population over 60 years from each of the city's census sectors. In this single-phase study, the assessment included clinical history, physical and neurological examination, cognitive evaluation, the Cornell scale and the Patient Health Questionnaire for psychiatric symptoms. Scores greater than or equal to 8 on the Cornell scale were taken to indicate the presence of depressive symptoms.


A total of 455 elders were assessed, and of these 169 (37.1%) had clinically significant depressive symptoms (CSDS). Depression prevalence was higher among women (p<0.001) and individuals with lower education (p=0.033). The Chi-square test for trends showed a significant relationship where lower socioeconomic status was associated with greater likelihood of depressive symptoms (p=0.005).


The prevalence of depressive symptoms was high in this sample of the population-based study and was associated with female gender, low educational level and socioeconomic status. The assessment of the entire population sample must be completed.

Keywords : depression; elderly; prevalence.

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