Scand J Caring Sci; 2011; 25; 696–705
Factors of importance for self-reported mental health and depressive symptoms among ages 60–75 in urban Iran and Sweden
Background: Depression is a common experience affecting 121 million people around the world. In high income countries, depression is one of the most common psychiatric conditions among the elderly. Studies show that immigrants are particularly at risk for mental ill health.
Aim: This study investigates the self-reported mental health among two Iranian groups; one born and residing in Iran and one consisting of Iranian immigrants in Sweden, as well as native Swedes living in Sweden. The study also aims to explore and compare self-reported depressive symptoms among three groups.
Methods: This study is based on a cross-sectional design measuring self-reported health with a study specific questionnaire. The programme SPSS V.17.0 was used for all statistical analyses.
Findings: 1088 participants were approached (668 Iranians in Iran; 105 immigrated Iranians in Sweden; and 305 Swedes in Sweden). Factors effecting self-reported mental health was self-reported health, smoking, satisfaction with social life and also a sense of connection to ones cultural roots and traditions. Also demographic variables such as group belonging (Swedes vs. Iranians), sex and satisfaction with Income were shown to be important when performing the regression analysis. In the chi-square analysis the Iranian samples reported depressive symptoms to a larger extent than the Swedish group in all aspects of self-reported depressive symptoms. Self-reported depressive symptoms were reported to a greater extend in women compared to men. Our findings indicate that the Iranian populations living in both Tehran and Stockholm report depressive symptoms to an extent that merits concern. The findings indicate that Iranians living in Tehran and Iranians who have immigrated to Sweden require more attention regarding mental health care. Health care providers in both countries should be aware of the current state of mental health among Iranians in both Sweden and Iran.