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Paranoid symptoms and hallucinations among the older people in Western Europe


Correspondence to: S. Östling, E-mail:



It is not clear whether the prevalence of psychosis increases with age. We studied the age-specific prevalence of psychotic symptoms in older people in Western Europe.


Older people without dementia (age 65–104 years, N = 8762) from the western part of Europe in the EURODEP concerted action took part in psychiatric examinations.


In total, 2.4% of the men and 2.9% of the women had psychotic symptoms. Using a multilevel logistic regression model that included gender and age as a continuous variable, we found that a 5-year increase in age increased the prevalence of psychotic symptoms (odds ratio 1.2 95% confidence interval 1.06–1.3, p = 0.001). A second multilevel regression model showed that wishing to be dead, depressed mood, functional disability, not being married and cognitive impairment measured with Mini mental state examination were all associated with psychotic symptoms whereas gender was not.


The prevalence of psychotic symptoms in non-demented older people increases with age, and these symptoms are associated with other psychopathology, social isolation and problems with daily living. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.