Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The aim of this study is to describe gender differences in depressive symptomatology among an elderly Spanish population and to see whether women are more at risk than men and whether the effects of known risk factors for depression differ between the genders. Data come from the study Envejecer en Leganés (Growing Old in Leganés), where a representative sample of community residing elderly was screened by an at-home interview for high depressive symptomatology using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Sociodemographic characteristics, health status, Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, disability, social support, and locus of control were measured as possible correlates of depressive symptoms. Screening was completed in 1116 subjects. The prevalence of high depressive symptomatology varied, being 19.6% for men and 46% for women (OR=3.4; 95% CI=2.6; 4.5). In addition to gender, comorbidity, low emotional support from children, lack of a confidant, few social activities, and a sense of lack of control were independently associated with high levels of depressive symptoms. None of the interactions of gender by the known risk factors of depression was significant. Although the prevalence of depressive symptomatology is higher in women than in men, the known risk factors do not totally explain the difference between genders in this population of Spanish elderly. This difference could be due to the cultural definitions of gender roles that have affected them throughout their lives.
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