Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 583–590 | Cite as

Prevalence of Depressive Symptoms and Related Risk Factors for Depressive Symptoms among Elderly Persons Living in a Rural Japanese Community: a Cross-Sectional Study

  • Yoshihiro Kaneko
  • Yutaka Motohashi
  • Hisanaga Sasaki
  • Masako Yamaji


To clarify the prevalence of depression in a rural community in Japan and to evaluate the social and familial risk factors for depression, with the goal of suicide prevention, a questionnaire survey was conducted on a total of 2,763 elderly persons. The determined prevalence of depressive symptoms (Zung’s self-rated depression scale score of 50 points or more) was 10.4%. Logistic regression analysis showed associations between depressive symptoms and age, absence of a friendly companion, irritation with one’s family, frequent loneliness, the opinion that stress has a large impact on one’s life, suicide ideation, and poor subjective physical and mental health.


depression elderly rural community risk factor family stress 


  1. Ahara, M., Sugawara, I., Sasaki, H., Kaneko, Y., & Motohashi, Y. (2002). Study on suicide prevention measures based on community diagnosis. Familial stress and depressive symptoms. Japanese Journal of Public Health, 49, 529. (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  2. Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. (2001). Vital statistics of Japan 2000, Tokyo: Health & Welfare Statistics Association.Google Scholar
  3. Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. (2002). Vital statistics of Japan 2001. Tokyo: Health & Welfare Statistics Association.Google Scholar
  4. Johansson, L. M., Sundquist, J., Johansson, S. E., & Bergman, B. (1997). Ethnicity, social factors, illness and suicide: A follow-up study of a random sample of the Swedish population. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 95, 125–131.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Kivelä, S. L., Pahkala, K., & Laippala, P. (1988). Prevalence of depression in an elderly population in Finland. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 78, 401–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Lester, D. (1993). Household structure and suicide in elderly Japanese women. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 77, 1282.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Mann, J. J. (2002). A current perspective of suicide and attempted suicide. Annals of Internal Medicine, 136, 302–311.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Motohashi, Y. (2005). Suicide prevention measures in Japan—A health promotion approach by strengthening community actions. [Special issue], Akita Journal of Public Health, 2, 96–104.Google Scholar
  9. Motohashi, Y., Liu, Y., & Sasaki, H. (1999). Study on socioeconomic factors and regional differences of suicide in Akita Prefecture. Kousei-no-Sihyou, 46, 105–110. (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  10. Motohashi, Y., & Kaneko, Y. (2005). A practitioner’s guide for suicide prevention as health promotion program. In Y. Motohashi & N. Watanabe (Eds.), Suicide can be prevented; planning and action of suicide prevention by health promotion approach (pp. 135–202). Saitama, Japan: Spica-shobou Publishing Co. (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  11. Oyama, H., & Sakashita, T. (2004). Depression and suicide among the elderly: Aspect on prevention and community-based intervention. Japanese Journal of Stress Sciences, 19, 61–69.Google Scholar
  12. Oyama, H., Koida, J., Sakashita, T., & Kudo, K. (2004). Community-based prevention for suicide in elderly by depression screening and follow-up. Community Mental Health Journal, 40, 249–263.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lazarus, R.S. (1984). Methodological issues. In Stress, appraisal and coping. (pp 286–333). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  14. Statistic Bureau, Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Japan. (2001). 2000 Population Census of Japan Volume 2-2-05 Prefecture and Municipalities. Akita-ken, Tokyo: Japan Statistical AssociationGoogle Scholar
  15. Takahashi, K., Naito, H., Morita, M., Suga, R., Oguma, T., & Koizumi, T. (1998). Suicide prevention for the elderly in Matsunoyama town, Higashikubiki county, Niigata prefecture: Psychiatric care for elderly depression in the community. Seishin Shinkeigaku Zasshi, 100, 469–485.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Zung, W. W. (1965). A self-rating depression scale. Archives of General Psychiatry, 12, 63–70.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yoshihiro Kaneko
    • 1
  • Yutaka Motohashi
    • 1
  • Hisanaga Sasaki
    • 1
  • Masako Yamaji
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Public HealthAkita University School of MedicineAkitaJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Health and Medical CareSaitama Medical UniversitySaitamaJapan

Personalised recommendations