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Keywords:

  • epidemiology;
  • depression;
  • age;
  • gender;
  • hospital anxiety and depression scale

Objective: Previous sample studies of depression have shown a higher prevalence of depression in women, and an inconsistent relation to age has been found for both genders. The aim of the present study was to investigate depression in relation to gender and age in the general adult population.

Method: Of the total population of 92 100 individuals aged 20–89 years and living in Nord-Trøndelag county of Norway, 62 344 (67.7%) filled in valid ratings of depression on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).

Results: Minimal gender difference was found in dimensional depression scores and in prevalence rates of depression. Both these measures were found to increase continuously with age in both genders.

Conclusion: Our results of this population-based study differ from most sample studies reported, and these discrepancies are discussed with focus on study design, self-rating, and the concept of depression covered by HADS.