Vol. 7 nº 3 - Jul/Aug/Set de 2013
Original Article Páginas: 252 a 257

Prevalence of depressive symptoms among elderly in the city of Tremembé, Brazil: preliminary findings of an epidemiological study

Authors Karolina G. César1; Leonel T. Takada1; Sonia M.D. Brucki2; Ricardo Nitrini3; Luiz Fernando C. Nascimento4; Maira O. Oliveira5; Camila M.S. Gomes5; Milena C.S. Almeida5; Fábio H. Porto5; Mirna L.H. Senaha5; Valéria S. Bahia5; Mônica S. Yassuda5; Thaís B.L. Silva5; Jéssica N. Ianof5; Lívia Spíndola5; Magali T. Schmidt5; Mário S. Jorge5; Patrícia H.F. Vale5; Mário A. Cecchini5; Luciana Cassimiro5; Roger T. Soares5; Márcia Rúbia Gonçalves5; Ana Caroline S. Martins5; Elisângela Rocha5; Patrícia Daré5


keywords: depressão, idosos, prevalência.

Depression is a heterogeneous mental disease classified as a set of disorders, which manifest with a certain duration, frequency and intensity. The prevalence of depression in the elderly ranges from 0.5 to 16%.
OBJECTIVE: To establish, in an epidemiological study, the prevalence of significant depressive symptoms in the population aged 60 years or older.
METHODS: Results of a cross-sectional epidemiological study, involving home visits, being carried out in the city of Tremembé, Brazil, were reported. The sample was randomly selected by drawing 20% of the population over 60 years from each of the city's census sectors. In this single-phase study, the assessment included clinical history, physical and neurological examination, cognitive evaluation, the Cornell scale and the Patient Health Questionnaire for psychiatric symptoms. Scores greater than or equal to 8 on the Cornell scale were taken to indicate the presence of depressive symptoms.
RESULTS: A total of 455 elders were assessed, and of these 169 (37.1%) had clinically significant depressive symptoms (CSDS). Depression prevalence was higher among women (p<0.001) and individuals with lower education (p=0.033). The Chi-square test for trends showed a significant relationship where lower socioeconomic status was associated with greater likelihood of depressive symptoms (p=0.005).
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of depressive symptoms was high in this sample of the population-based study and was associated with female gender, low educational level and socioeconomic status. The assessment of the entire population sample must be completed.


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