This study aims to explore the prevalence and influence factors of depressive symptoms in Chinese older adults from 1987 to 2012. The study investigated 81 published papers on depressive symptoms in Chinese older adults using the 30-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-30) or the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) as a measuring tool through meta-analysis. A total of 88,417 Chinese older adults were included in this review. The pooled prevalence of depressive symptoms in Chinese older adults was 23.6% (95% CI: 20.3-27.2%). The pooled prevalence of depressive symptoms was greater in women. In addition, the prevalence of depressive symptoms in married older adults was lower than in single adults (i.e., divorced, unmarried or widowed). Depressive morbidity with GDS-30 was significantly higher than with CES-D. The prevalence of depressive symptoms in Chinese older adults presented a downward tendency with increasing educational level. Moreover, the prevalence of depressive symptoms gradually increased with the year of data collection. Significant differences were found in the measurement tools, gender, degree of education and marital status, but none in age.
Keywords: Chinese older adults; Depressive symptoms; Meta-analysis; Prevalence.
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