Epidemiology of dysphoria and depression in an elderly population

Am J Psychiatry. 1980 Apr;137(4):439-44. doi: 10.1176/ajp.137.4.439.


The authors surveyed 997 elderly people living in the community and found that the rate of significant dysphoric symptomatology was 14.7%. Forty-five (4.5%) of these individuals suffered from dysphoric symptoms only, and 37 (3.7%) had symptoms of a major depressive disorder. Eighteen (1.8%) suffered from symptoms of primary depressive disorder and 19 (1.9%) from symptoms of secondary depressive disorder. Sixty-five (6.5%) had depressive symptoms associated with impaired physical health. The frequency of widowhood, impairment in social resources, and impairment in economic resources was greater for individuals with symptoms of a major depressive disorder. The entire sample used psychiatric services at a very low rate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adjustment Disorders / diagnosis
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Counseling
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Socioeconomic Factors


  • Psychotropic Drugs