Physical Ill-Health, Age and Depression
- 15 Downloads
The prevalence of disease can only be assessed by community studies. Such studies of depression are fraught with the difficulties of defining not only the limits of illness but also the diagnostic criteria to be used. As a result it is difficult to compare the results of the various studies which have been done on samples of elderly subjects. Most workers have attempted to distinguish two types of depression. Although they are variously named, the divisions broadly adopted can be equated with severe and minor illness. From the first major study to examine a random sample of elderly community subjects by Kay et al. (1964), to our own investigations (Copeland et al. 1987 a), the reported prevalence of severe or major depression has varied only between 1.0%–4.0%, which is perhaps a surprising degree of agreement given the diverse criteria used (Weissman and Myers 1980; Persson 1980; Blazer and Williams 1980; Blazer 1982; Cooper and Schwartz 1982; Gurland et al. 1983; Kay et al. 1985; Copeland et al. 1987 a, b). The prevalance of minor depression has varied rather more widely between studies. This is not surprising as defining the limits of illness and normal behaviour are additional problems which bedevil the study of neurotic conditions. It also seems possible that the levels of minor depression may truly vary between populations. In our study we used standardized semistructured methods for assessing mental state, the Geriatric Mental State (GMS) AGECAT Package, and a computer diagnostic system (Copeland et al. 1986).
KeywordsPhysical Illness Depressive Illness Minor Depression Adverse Life Event Major Affective Disorder
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- American Psychiatric Association (1980) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM I II ). Washington, DC American Psychiatric AssociationGoogle Scholar
- Blazer D (1982) The epidemiology of later life depression. J Geriatr Soc 30: 587–592Google Scholar
- Blazer D, Williams CD (1980) Epidemiology of dysphoria and depression in an elderly population. Am Psychiatry 137: 439–444Google Scholar
- Brown GW, Harris TO (1978) Social origins of depression. London, TavistockGoogle Scholar
- Copeland JRM, Gurland BJ (1978) Evaluation of diagnostic methods: an international comparison. In: Issacs AD, Post F (eds) Studies in geriatric psychiatry. Wiley, Chichester, 189–209Google Scholar
- Copeland JRM, Neal CD, Harrison MAM, McWilliam C, Dewey ME (1988) Is there more or less dementia and other mental illness amongst rural communities of elderly people? A pilot study using the GMS-AGECAT package (submitted for publication)Google Scholar
- Gibson AC (1961) Psychosis occurring in the senium. J Men Sci 107: 921Google Scholar
- Gurland BJ, Copeland JRM, Kelleher MJ, Kuriansky J, Sharpe L, Dean L (1983) Mind and mood of aging: the mental health problems of the community elderly in New York and London. Haworth Press, New York London Croom HelmGoogle Scholar
- Lloyd GG (1977) Psychological reactions to physical illness. Br J Psychiatry 18: 354–358Google Scholar
- Morris PA (1962) A survey of 100 female senile admissions to a mental hospital. J Ment Sci 108: 801Google Scholar
- Querido A (1959) Forecast and follow-up: an investigation into the physical, social and neutral factors determining the results of hospital treatment. Br J Prevent Soc Med 13: 33–39Google Scholar