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Keywords:

  • quality of life;
  • depression;
  • elderly;
  • Chinese;
  • Hong Kong

Abstract

Background

Depression is the most prevalent functional mental disorder of later life. It is estimated that about 5% of the elderly population of Hong Kong are suffering from depression.

Aim

To investigate the self-rated quality of life of community-dwelling elderly people diagnosed with depression, and to examine the relationships between quality of life and mental, physical health, functional status and social support.

Methods and results

A cross-sectional descriptive survey was conducted in psychiatric outpatient clinics. A convenience sample of 80 Chinese elderly people with a diagnosis of depressive disorder was recruited. Perception of quality of life was measured by the Hong Kong Chinese World Health Organization Quality of Life Scale–Brief Version. Participants' mental status, functional abilities, physical health condition, and social support status were assessed. Sixty-one (76.3%) participants were female. They were least satisfied with ‘meaningfulness of life’, ‘life enjoyment’, ‘concentration and thinking’, ‘energy’ and ‘work capacity’. Functional abilities had a positive association with participants' perceived quality of life, level of depression and number of physical health conditions had a negative association. Participants had low ratings of quality of life when compared with healthy persons and persons with chronic physical problems. Findings are discussed in light of the socio-cultural environment in Hong Kong.

Conclusion

Comprehensive treatment and better control of depression, including different modes of medical and psychosocial intervention, could help to improve participants' perception of quality of life. A longitudinal study with a larger sample with various levels of depression and socio-demographic characteristics is recommended. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.