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Sex differences in late‐life depression

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Objective: The primary aim of this study was to assess sex differences in depression in later life.

Method: In a random, age and sex‐stratified community sample of 3056 older Dutch people (55–85 years) the prevalence, symptom‐reporting and risk factors associated with depression in later life were studied. Depression was measured with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES‐D). Bivariate, multivariate and factor analyses were used.

Results: Prevalence of depression in women was almost twice as high as in men. Controlling for age and competing risk factors reduced the relative risk for females with more than half. Symptom‐patterns in men and women were very much alike. Sex differences in associations with risk factors were small, but exposure to these risk factors was considerably higher in females.

Conclusion: Very little evidence for a typical ‘female depression’ was found. Female preponderance in depression was related to a greater exposure to risk factors.

Keywords: community; depression; elderly; sex difference

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0447.2000.101004286.x

Publication date: April 1, 2000

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