Prevalence of depression and associated risk factors among the elderly in rural field practice areas of a tertiary care institution in Katihar, Bihar


  • Sneha Soni Department of Community Medicine, Hind Institute of Medical Sciences, Safedabad, Barabanki, India
  • Shukla Shukla Department of Community Medicine, Hind Institute of Medical Sciences, Ataria, Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • Manish Kumar Medical Oncologist, Command Hospital, Central Command, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India



Depression, Elderly, Rural


Background: Despite depression is one of the most common emerging psychiatric morbidity among elderly now days, yet the depressive symptoms are not diagnosed appropriately. The objective of the study was to estimate the prevalence of depression and identify associated risk factors in the elderly population.

Methods: A community based cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted from January 2013 to December 2013 in villages under field practice area of Katihar Medical College in the state of Bihar, India. Multistage sampling technique was employed, and a total 450 elderly persons were interviewed after obtaining written informed consent. Subjects with score >20 on the mini-mental state examination, were assessed for depression using the Short Form Geriatric Depression Scale. Study variables included bio-social parameters such as age, gender, literacy status, occupation, socioeconomic status, financial dependency and marital status.

Results: The prevalence of depression in the study population was 39.6%. Mild depression was present in one-fourth (24.4%) of the study population followed by moderate depression (11.55%). Even 3.7% of the elderly were severely depressed.  It was significantly higher in females (p = 0.00), those who were single (p = 0.00), those who belonged to upper socioeconomic strata (0.00) and were financially dependent on others.

Conclusions: The study revealed the need for development of community based comprehensive strategy for early diagnosis and prompt treatment of depression among elderly as well as to promote mental health.


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