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Keywords:

  • depressive symptoms;
  • elders;
  • community dwelling

Abstract

Background

Depression in the elderly has become a serious health care issue worldwide. However, no studies have determined the prevalence and risk factors for depressive symptoms among a representative sample of community-dwelling elders in Taiwan.

Objectives

To determine the prevalence and risk factors for depressive symptoms among community-dwelling elders in Taiwan.

Methods

Stratified random sampling was used to recruit a representative sample of 1200 elderly participants from northern, middle, southern, and eastern regions of Taiwan.

Results

The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 27.5%. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that having a respiratory disease, poor cognitive function, poor social support network, dissatisfaction with living situation, perception of poor health status, and perceived income inadequacy were significant predictors of depressive symptoms in this sample.

Conclusions

The risk factors for depression identified in this study need to be considered when assessing the health of elderly persons. In addition, interventions to reduce depressive symptoms in elders should include strategies to change some of these modifiable risk factors. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.