Objective: The authors assessed the prevalence of major depression (DSM-III-R) among Parkinson's disease patients and compared this rate with that of matched physically disabled subjects.
Method: The 30-item General Health Questionnaire and measures of physical disability were completed by all patients in Dunedin, New Zealand, identified as having Parkinson's disease. Patients scoring over 5 on the General Health Questionnaire were interviewed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R--Non-Patient Version. Each patient living in the community was matched for age, sex, and level of physical disability with a comparison subject who did not have a neurological condition.
Results: Of the 73 subjects with Parkinson's disease who agreed to participate and were judged not to be demented, 34.2% scored higher than 5 on the 30-item General Health Questionnaire, but only 2.7% met the criteria for major depression. No difference from the comparison group was found.
Conclusions: The prevalence of major depression in patients with Parkinson's disease may be no greater than in age- and sex-matched physically disabled persons.