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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

On-line version ISSN 1980-5497


BRETANHA, Andréia Ferreira et al. Depressive symptoms in elderly living in areas covered by Primary Health Care Units in urban area of ​​​​Bagé, RS. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2015, vol.18, n.1, pp.1-12. ISSN 1980-5497.


To identify the prevalence of depressive symptoms and associated factors in elderly.


Cross-sectional study of population-based sample of 1,593 individuals aged 60 years or more in the urban area of Bagé, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in 2008. Data were collected in household interviews. The prevalence of depressive symptoms was assessed using the Geriatric Depression Scale. The analysis was performed using Poisson regression with robust variance estimation.


The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 18.0%, with the 95% confidence interval 16.1 - 19.9. The majority of the sample consisted of women (62.8%). The mean age was 70 years, with a 8.24 standard deviation (SD); 25.1% of seniors aged 60 to 64 years and 31.2% were 75 years or older. In the adjusted analysis, depressive symptoms were significantly associated (p value < 0.05) with the elderly female, yellow, brown or indigenous descendancy, lower economic status, retired, with history of heart problems, incapacity to basic and instrumental activities of daily living, worse self-rated health and dissatisfaction with life in general. Age, marital status, education, self-reported hypertension and diabetes were not associated with depressive symptoms after adjusting for confounders.


The high prevalence of depressive symptoms in the population requires investment in preventive actions, noting the need for practices that promote active aging with the maintenance of functional activity, improving self-rated health and life satisfaction.

Keywords : Primary health care; Aged; Depression; Mental health; Aging; Epidemiology.

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