Prevalence of depressive symptoms among elderly in the city of Tremembé, Brazil: Preliminary findings of an epidemiological study

Prevalência de sintomas depressivos em idosos na cidade de Tremembé, Brasil: resultados preliminares de um estudo epidemiológico

Karolina G. César Leonel T. Takada Sonia M.D. Brucki Ricardo Nitrini Luiz Fernando C. Nascimento Maira O. Oliveira Camila M.S. Gomes Milena C.S. Almeida Fábio H. Porto Mirna L.H. Senaha Valéria S. Bahia Mônica S. Yassuda Thaís B.L. Silva Jéssica N. Ianof Lívia Spíndola Magali T. Schmidt Mário S. Jorge Patrícia H.F. Vale Mário A. Cecchini Luciana Cassimiro Roger T. Soares Márcia Rúbia Gonçalves Ana Caroline S. Martins Elisângela Rocha Patrícia Daré About the authors


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.

Key words:
depression; elderly; prevalence

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