Prevalence of depression in the elderly population of rural Puducherry: a community based cross sectional study

Kanimozhi S., Mohan A. Darbastwar


Background: Geriatric mental health is an important emerging public health concern. Although India is the second most populated country in the world in terms of elderly population it is yet to perceive geriatric depression as a public health problem. In spite of considerable disability and morbidity there is a dearth of community studies investigating geriatric depression and its associated risk factors from India. Considering this back ground, a community based cross sectional study was conducted in a rural setting of Puducherry to find out the disease burden of geriatric depression and to study the correlates of depression among the elderly in the community.

Methods: A community based cross sectional study was done in a rural field practicing area of Sri Lakshmi Narayana Institute of Medical Science, Puducherry. The study was conducted in 640 elderly and geriatric depression was assessed with The Geriatric depression Scale – Short form.

Results: Of the total elderly, only 42.34% were found to be normal while the remaining 57.66% of the elderly were suffering from some forms of depression. The major associated factors contributing to geriatric depression were found to be female sex, widowhood, illiteracy, living alone, presence of chronic diseases, lesser physical activity and inadequate sleep.

Conclusions: A major proportion of the elderly in the study population were found to be suffering from depression. This high prevalence indicates an urgent need, both for great awareness of depression among the community members and to ensure availability and accessibility of appropriate health services to manage it. 


Elderly, Depression, Geriatric depression scale

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