• depression;
  • older men;
  • Macau;
  • men’s health;
  • nurses;
  • nursing

Aim.  To determine the prevalence of depression level of older men in Macau and identify factors that predict depression.

Background.  Studies have revealed the contribution of psychosocial factors such as stress, dissatisfaction at work and stressful life events to older men and the mental health burdens pose a grave threat to their quality of life.

Design.  A descriptive survey.

Method.  The study was conducted from July–August 2004 in six parishes in Macau; 839 older men aged 60+ completed a structured questionnaire.

Outcome measures.  Predisposing characteristics, social and daily activities, health history and need/behaviours and depression level were collected. Multiple logistic regression models were used to identify factors to predict older men who will have depression.

Results.  The prevalence rate of depression of older men was 8·6%. It showed that a history of stroke (p = 0·039), insomnia (p < 0·001), palpitations (p = 0·014), poor social network (p = 0·005) and self-perceived health status (p = 0·001) and perceived low ability to meet living costs (p < 0·001) were significant risk factors for depression.

Conclusion.  We should focus on older men by reducing their burden to meet living costs, improving their sleep quality and helping them to expand their social network. These should help in both prevention and recognition of the onset of depression. Those with the low social network scores could be targeted for more intensive support from the beginning.

Relevance to clinical practice.  It is important to screen regularly for depression status among older men in the community. Attention to poor perceived health and not enough on the ability to meet living costs were needed and important to follow up.