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Revista de Psiquiatria do Rio Grande do Sul

versão impressa ISSN 0101-8108

Resumo

IRIGARAY, Tatiana Quarti  e  SCHNEIDER, Rodolfo Herberto. Prevalence of depression in elderly women attending the University of Third Age. Rev. psiquiatr. Rio Gd. Sul [online]. 2007, vol.29, n.1, pp.19-27. ISSN 0101-8108.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0101-81082007000100008.

BACKGROUND: Studies have suggested that aging is associated with depression. However, elderly can present absence or low prevalence of depressive symptoms when they participate in group activities of permanent education. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the intensity and prevalence of depressive symptoms in elderly women attending the University of the Third Age (UNITI) at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. To verify whether participation time in UNITI improves the mood and characteristics of participants before and after entering UNITI. METHOD: One hundred and three UNITI students participated in the study. The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and a form of sociodemographic data were used, investigating the participation time in UNITI and its relation with depressive symptoms, the role of UNITI in the improvement in the mood and characteristics of participants before and after entering this institution. A convenience sample was used. RESULTS: Absence of depressive symptoms were observed in the GDS of the sample under investigation (mean = 2.65; standard deviation = 2.42). Of all elderly women, 80.6% presented normal scores in the GDS and none presented severe depression. There was significant difference between depression and participation time in UNITI ? 1 year (p < 0.05). Participants also presented improvement in mood and in personal, intellectual, affective and social areas. CONCLUSIONS: It is possible to age well without depressive symptoms. This study shows the existence of an association, which needs further investigation, between minor intensity of depressive symptoms and participation time in UNITI > 1 year. It also suggests that attending a university of the third age brings improvements to the elderly people.

Palavras-chave : Elderly; depression; university of the third age; aging.

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