Older women more prone to becoming and staying depressed than older men

February 5th, 2008 - 1:56 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Feb 5 (ANI): A new study by researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine has found that older women are more likely to become and remain depressed than their male counterparts.

However, they are less likely to die while depressed than men, states the study that was based on an evaluation of 754 individuals age 70 and older (average age 78.4).

Severe depression affects approximately 1 to 2 percent of older adults, but as much of 20 percent experience its symptoms.

The study started in 1998, and follow-up assessments were carried out every 18 months. During the follow-ups, volunteers had to give demographic information, take cognitive tests and report any medical conditions.

They also were screened for symptoms of depressionsuch as lack of appetite, feeling sad or sleep problemsduring the previous week.

Over the course of the study, 269 (35.7 percent) of the participants were depressed at some point. Of those, 48 (17.8 percent) remained depressed during two consecutive time periods, 30 (11.2 percent) at three time points, 17 (6.3 percent) at four points and 12 (4.5 percent) at all five.

The researchers then found that women were more likely than men to report that they were depressed at each 18-month follow-up.

Adjusting for other demographic characteristics, women had a higher likelihood of transitioning from non-depressed to depressed and a lower likelihood of transitioning from depressed to non-depressed or death, the authors stated.

The findings were consistent over the four time intervals. The findings had researchers surprised, as women are more likely to receive medications or other treatment for depression.

The study was led by Lisa C. Barry, Ph.D., M.P.H., and appears in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. (ANI)

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