The prevalence of depressive symptoms among the older in China: a meta-analysis

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;27(9):900-6. doi: 10.1002/gps.2821. Epub 2012 Jan 17.


Background: This study aims to find the status and prevalence of depressive symptoms among the population aged 60 years and above in China.

Methods: We conducted a meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies in older population. Epidemiological studies on depressive symptoms published in Chinese journals were identified manually and online by using the Chinese Biological Medical Literature Database, Chongqing VIP database for Chinese Technical Periodicals, and Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure database. Studies published in English journals were identified using Medlars Online.

Results: A total of 32 eligible studies were included in this review. The analysis showed that the pooled prevalence (with 95% confidence interval) of depressive symptoms for the seniors in China was 22.7% (confidence interval: 19.4-26.4%). The prevalence of depressive symptoms among the older was a little higher in women (24.2%) than in men (19.4%), in rural (29.2%) than urban (20.5%) areas, and in western (30.5%) than eastern (19.5%) areas. In addition, the prevalence of depressive symptoms decreased with increasing levels of education. However, it did not increase gradually with age.

Conclusions: The prevalence of depressive symptoms among the older in China was a little high, and it was varied by gender, age, area, and education level.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Distribution
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data