The relationships between depression, measured as high rates of depressive symptoms (Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale, ZSDS), and musculoskeletal pains (Kuorinka et al. 1987) were described in a 55-year-old Finnish population consisting of all the 1008 persons born in 1935 and living in the city of Oulu on 1 October 1990. Three hundred forty-five men (76%) and 435 women (79%) participated in the examinations. Of the men 6.8% and of the women 12.1% scored 45 raw sum points or more on the ZSDS. In several anatomical regions, pains were more common among the depressed than the non-depressed population, and many of the depressed persons suffered from multiple pains. One of the most common regions of pain was the neck; during the past 12 months, 56.5% of the depressed men and 65.4% of the depressed women had suffered from frequent pains in the neck. The corresponding prevalences among the non-depressed men and women were 35.2% and 45.5%, respectively. In the non-depressed population, musculoskeletal pains were more common among women than men, whereas no great gender differences existed in the depressed population. The possible confounding variables were standardized in the logistic regression analysis, and the results showed an independent association between pains in the small joints and depression among men, on one hand, and pains in the neck and shoulder and depression among women, on the other hand.