Major depression in a population of demented and nondemented older people: prevalence and correlates

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1998 Jan;46(1):27-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1998.tb01009.x.


Objective: To analyze the differences between variables associated with depression and symptoms of depression in demented and nondemented persons.

Design: A survey design was used.

Setting/participants: A total of 1101 older persons registered in a district of Stockholm, Sweden, participated in the study.

Measurements: Subjects were given physical and psychiatric examinations by physicians, and informants interviews and medical records were assessed. Dementia was diagnosed according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III-R) criteria and major depression according to DSM-IV. The variables studied were age, gender, martial status, institutionalization, Mini-Mental State Exam score, disability in daily life, physical disorders with symptoms affecting daily life, and a previous history of depression (early and late).

Results: 27.8% of the patients in the study sample were demented according to DSM-III-R. Major depression was diagnosed in 3.9% of the nondemented and in 11.8% of the demented subjects. Some of the depressive symptoms, such as lack of energy, thinking/concentration difficulties, loss of interest, and psychomotor disturbance, were found more commonly in demented than in nondemented persons. Increased disability was associated with major depression both in demented and nondemented persons.

Conclusion: In this study, the prevalence of depression was higher in demented than in nondemented persons. Among the factors that were studied, increased disability was associated with depression both in demented and nondemented persons. No differences were found regarding the other studied variables.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Dementia / complications*
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / complications
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Sweden / epidemiology