The Prevalence and Predictors of Severe Depression Among the Elderly in Malaysia

Abstract

The population of Malaysia is relatively young, due to this there is a dearth in research conducted among the elderly especially relating to depression. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence and the predictors of severe depression among the elderly in Malaysia. A sample of 2005 older adults randomly selected from the Penang State government’s list of elderly receiving aid participated in the study. The Geriatric Depression Scale was used to screen for depression. Socio-demographic, social support, disease, functional and other factors were looked at as possible predictor variables. The prevalence of severe depression was 19.2 %. Indians (aOR = 2.0), being married (aOR = 10.5), widowed & divorced (aOR = 5.2), having poor (aOR = 2.7) or moderate social support (aOR = 2.7), having no one (aOR = 2.9), relatives (aOR = 2.3) or religious figures & others (aOR = 1.9) as compared to a spouse as a source of emotional support, feeling extremely lonely (aOR = 3.4), not socially active (aOR = 2.3), cognitively impaired (aOR 2.5), activities limited due to illness or disability (aOR = 1.6) and poor sleep quality (aOR = 3.6) were significant predictor variables. The prevalence of severe depression was high. It is pertinent that older adults, especially those with risk factors identified in this study be screened for depression at every opportunity.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Mr Phee Boon Poh and the Penang State Government for the grant and support rendered in making this study a success.

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Correspondence to Abdul Rashid.

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Rashid, A., Tahir, I. The Prevalence and Predictors of Severe Depression Among the Elderly in Malaysia. J Cross Cult Gerontol 30, 69–85 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10823-014-9248-3

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Keywords

  • Depression
  • Elderly
  • Predictive factors
  • Prevalence