A study on depression among elderly in a rural population of Tamil Nadu, India

S. Suganathan


Background: Elderly or old age consists of ages close to or exceeding the average life span of human beings. The limit of old age cannot be defined precisely because it does not have the same meaning in all societies by the middle of this century, there could be 100 million elderly people living in the India according to United Nations World population prospects report. Depression is the common psychiatric disorder among elderly. The aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence of Depression among elderly in a rural population. Design of the study was a cross sectional study conducted among 450 elderly populations in Poonamallee block of Thiruvallur district in Tamil Nadu was selected as the study area for a period of 6 months between January 2013 - June 2013.

Methods: A validated geriatric depression scale was used to assess their depression status and the various demographic details, socio economic status and living arrangements were analysed to see for any association with depression. Statistical analysis was chi square test and odds ratio.

Results: Among the 450 elderly subjects studied The prevalence of depression among elderly males was found to be 56.8% and among females 79.2% and the difference in the prevalence of depression among males and females was found to be statistically significance (p<0.001).

Conclusions: The results confirmed that there is a high prevalence of depression among the elderly population. There is a need to improve geriatrics health care services combined with proper monitoring and evaluation.


Depression, Geriatrics, Health care services

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