OBJECTIVES: This study aims to determine the frequency of clinically significant depressive symptoms (CSDS) in a community sample of older Brazilians and to examine their relationship with sociodemographic factors, cognitive and functional impairment (CFI), and medical illness.
METHODS: A total of 1145 subjects aged 60 years or older living in the City of Ribeirao Preto, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, were interviewed. The following instruments were used: a 10-item scale for screening of depressive symptoms in older people, the mini mental state examination, the Fuld object memory evaluation, the informant questionnaire on cognitive decline in the elderly, the Bayer activities of daily living scale, and a sociodemographic and clinical questionnaire.
RESULTS: The frequency of CSDS was 15.7%. Logistic regression analysis indicated that being previously depressed, having CFI, having lower level of education, using psychotropics, and not engaging in physical exercise were related to CSDS. On the other hand, being a woman, older, medically ill, employed, or married was not associated with CSDS.
CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with previous reports, lower education, lack of physical activity, and CFI were significantly associated with higher frequencies of CSDS. Further investigations are necessary to clarify the occurrence of depression and possible modifiable factors in developing countries such as Brazil.
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