INTRODUCTION: The objective of this study was to evaluate depressive symptoms in climacteric women using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) from the National Institute of Mental Health (USA). METHOD: This is a cross-sectional study carried out in a gynecological outpatient unit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, including 151 climacteric women between 40 and 65 years of age. The CES-D was used to assess depressive symptoms and a structured interview obtained sociodemographic, clinical and gynecological data. A score above 15 points on the CES-D was considered as a cut-point for depressive state. RESULTS: Mean CES-D score was 9.2 points (standard deviation = 9.0). Insomnia, sadness and despondency had the highest scores. There was no significant association between CES-D scores and the climacteric period, sociodemographic, clinical or gynecological characteristics, except for women with psychiatric symptoms, history of depression or on antidepressants (p = 0.000). In 32 women (21%) who scored > 15 on the CES-D, 72% had already suffered from a depressive state. Women with no history of depressive disorder scored more frequently above 15 when they were perimenopausal. CONCLUSION: This sample of climacteric women, from a non-specialized mental or menopausal health service, had low mean scores on the CES-D, with the item insomnia being the most highly scored. History of a previous depressive episode, but not the woman's climacteric period, was a risk factor for higher scores on the CES-D. In the group of women with no history of depression, the perimenopausal women had more scores above the cut-point. This fact may suggest that the perimenopause is a period of higher susceptibility to new onset of depressive episodes.
Climacteric; menopause; depression