, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 177-186
Date: 07 Mar 2012

Sex differences in depression among older adults: are older women more vulnerable than men in social risk factors? The case of open care centers for older people in Greece

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This study examined depression, which, research has indicated, is the most common mental health problem affecting older people, especially women. Our objective was to estimate the prevalence of depression among older people in an urban Greek population and to investigate the covariates of depression symptoms prevalence by gender. The sample consisted of 360 individuals, 218 women and 142 men, aged 60 years or older, members of four open care centers for older people in Greece. A questionnaire for socio-demographic and medical data was used. Depression was probed by use of the geriatric depression scale short form. One-hundred and nine persons (30.3%), 32 men (22.53%) and 77 women (35.12%) were found to have depressive symptoms. The results indicated that women have more depression symptoms than men. Being currently unmarried and suffering from multimorbidity were associated with depression symptoms in both gender groups. Meetings with friends were found to be protective factors for both sexes; care of grandchildren and participating in outings and excursions seemed to be protective factors for women only. Unfavorable economic situations, and being childless, were associated with prevalence of depression symptoms among women only. This study confirmed the relationship between depression symptoms and gender and the importance of social and medical factors in the prevalence of depression symptoms, in both gender groups. It also indicated the greater vulnerability of women to some social factors.

Responsible Editor: D. J. H. Deeg.