Relationship between late-life depression and life stressors: large-scale cross-sectional study of a representative sample of the Japanese general population

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2010 Aug;64(4):426-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.2010.02097.x. Epub 2010 May 18.


Aim: The purpose of the present study was to clarify the relationship between late-life depression and daily life stress in a representative sample of 10 969 Japanese subjects.

Methods: Data on 10 969 adults aged > or =50 who participated in the Active Survey of Health and Welfare in 2000, were analyzed. The self-administered questionnaire included items on 21 reasons for life stressors and the magnitude of stress, as well as the Japanese version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). The relationship between the incidence of life stressors and mild-moderate (D(16)) and severe (D(26)) depressive symptoms was examined using logistic regression analysis.

Results: A total of 21.9% of subjects had D(16) symptoms, and 9.3% had D(26) symptoms. Further, increased age and being female were associated with more severe depressive state. Logistic regression analysis indicated that the strongest relationship between both the incidence of D(16) and D(26) symptoms and life stressors stemmed from 'having no one to talk to' (odds ratio = 3.3 and 5.0, respectively). Late-life depression was also associated with 'loss of purpose in life', 'separation/divorce', 'having nothing to do', 'health/illness/care of self', and 'debt'.

Conclusion: There is a relationship between late-life depression and diminished social relationships, experiences involving loss of purpose in life or human relationships, and health problems in the Japanese general population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Life Change Events*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology