Depression in the elderly: Does family system play a role? A cross-sectional study

Taqui, Ather M.; Itrat, Ahmed; Qidwai, Waris; Qadri, Zeeshan
January 2007
BMC Psychiatry;2007, Vol. 7, p57
Academic Journal
Background: The most common geriatric psychiatric disorder is depression. The role of family systems in depression among the elderly has not been studied extensively. It has been suggested that urbanization promotes nucleation of family systems and a decrease in care and support for the elderly. We conducted this study in Karachi, a large urban city of Pakistan, to determine the relationship between the type of family system and depression. We also determined the prevalence of depression in the elderly, as well as correlation of depression with other important socio-demographic variables. Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in the premises of a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. Questionnaire based interviews were conducted among the elderly people visiting the hospital. Depression was assessed using the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale. Results: Four hundred subjects aged 65 and above were interviewed. The age of majority of the subjects ranged from 65 to 74 years. Seventy eight percent of the subjects were male. The prevalence of depression was found to be 19.8%. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that the following were significant (p < 0.05) independent predictors of depression: nuclear family system, female sex, being single or divorced/widowed, unemployment and having a low level of education. The elderly living in a nuclear family system were 4.3 times more likely to suffer from depression than those living in a joint family system (AOR = 4.3 [95% CI = 2.4-7.6]). Conclusion: The present study found that residing in a nuclear family system is a strong independent predictor of depression in the elderly. The prevalence of depression in the elderly population in our study was moderately high and a cause of concern. The transition in family systems towards nucleation may have a major deleterious effect on the physical and mental health of the elderly.


Related Articles

  • Depression in the very old/ Differences in presentation and approach to treatment: A case example. Finkel, Sanford I. // Geriatrics;Mar2003, Vol. 58 Issue 3, p48 

    Presents a medical case of depression in a very old patient. Incident which led to the patient's condition; Anxiety of an aged study participant on being afflicted with Alzheimer's disease; Psychiatric evaluation of the patient; Antidepressant agent prescribed to patient; Case's illustration of...

  • New evidence that depression, cognitive impairment are related. Lichtenberg, P.A.; Ross, T. // Brown University Long-Term Care Quality Letter;3/27/95, Vol. 7 Issue 6, p6 

    Reports that a study has confirmed that depression and cognitive impairment in the medically ill elderly are related. Relation of depression to pathological brain changes; Study of patients enrolled in an acute geriatric rehabilitation program between 1991 and 1993.

  • The Prevalence of Depressive Symptoms. Blazer, Dan G. // Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences & Medical ;Mar2002, Vol. 57A Issue 3, pM150 

    Editorial. Reports the prevalence of depressive symptoms among elderly men and women in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy. Interpretation of the etiology of the symptoms; Proposal to clinicians; Information on the concept of minor depression.

  • Psychological Medicine. Hodkinson, H.M. // British Medical Journal;4/5/1975, Vol. 2 Issue 5961, p23 

    Examines the incidence of mental disturbance on the elderly with physical illness. Types of mental disturbances; Influence of depression, confusional states, and dementia on mental disturbances; Kinds of psychological medicine on mental disturbances.

  • Minor Depression and 'Subthreshold' Anxiety Symptoms in Older Adults: Psychological Therapies and Special Considerations. Hegel, Mark T.; Stanley, Melinda A.; Arean, Patricia E. // Generations;Spring2002, Vol. 26 Issue 1, p44 

    Discusses two subthreshold conditions and the evidence for the efficacy of psychosocial therapies for older adults. Symptoms of minor depression; Information on the Patient Health Questionnaire Nine-Item Depression Module; Analysis of several interventions for the psychosocial treatments of...

  • Is it really senility--or just depression? Archibald, Joan W.; Ullman, Marcia A. // RN;Nov83, Vol. 46 Issue 11, p49 

    Suggests ways on how to distinct depression from senility. Signs of depression in elder people; Clues to watch for depression in the elderly; Importance of developing a therapeutic relationship between the nurse and patient. INSET: Depression in the elderly: Clues to watch for.

  • Toward a Threshold for Subthreshold Depression: An Analysis of Correlates of Depression by Severity of Symptoms Using Data From an Elderly Community Sample. Hybels, Celia F.; Blazer, Dan G.; Pieper, Carl F. // Gerontologist;Jun2001, Vol. 41 Issue 3, p357 

    Explores the demographic and risk factor profiles of two elderly groups, one with more severe depression and one with less severe depression. Factors associated with depression in elderly people; Hypotheses on the prevalence of subthreshold depression in older adults; Definition of subthreshold...

  • MENTAL HEALTH.  // Advocate (American Mental Health Counselors Association);Nov2015, Vol. 38 Issue 7, p24 

    The section presents statistics on the mental health of older people in the U.S. in 2015, including the percentage of the U.S. population made up by adults 65 and older, the prevalence of depression in older adults and the incidence of suicide among older white males.

  • Late-Life Depression and Living Life Fully. Fawcett, Jan // Psychiatric Annals;Mar2014, Vol. 44 Issue 3, p110 

    An introduction is presented in which the editor discusses various reports within the issue on topics including late-life depression, cognitive impairment in depressed older adults, and psychotherapies for late-life depression.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics