Depression in middle-aged and older first generation migrants in Europe: results from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)

Eur Psychiatry. 2010 Dec;25(8):468-75. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2009.11.009. Epub 2010 Jul 7.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of depression in migrants aged 50 years or older in comparison to residents without a history of migration in 11 European countries.

Methods and subjects: The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), a cross-national, multidisciplinary, household-based panel survey using nationally representative probability samples (n=28,517) of 11 European countries of the non-institutionalized population aged 50 years and older. Depression was measured using the EURO-D scale, and odds ratios (OR) were estimated for migration status. Effects of sociodemographic variables, somatic comorbidities, functional impairment, cognitive function, geographic region, and time lived in current country of residence were assessed in multivariate logistic regression analysis.

Results: Adjusting for confounds, the OR for depression in migrants was 1.42 (95% CI, 1.28-1.59). The influence of migration status on the prevalence of depression was significantly greater in Northern (OR, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.39-2.46) and Western Europe (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.22-1.57), compared to Southern Europe (OR, 1.16; 95% CI, 0.79-1.70) (p<0.05 for the interaction).

Conclusion: We found a higher prevalence of depression in first-generation migrants aged 50 years or older, together with relevant geographical variation. This difference was not due to other known predictors of depression in older age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Retirement / psychology*
  • Retirement / statistics & numerical data
  • Transients and Migrants / psychology*
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data