Depression and associated factors in older adults in South Africa
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Background and objective: Late-life depression is an important public health problem because of its devastating consequences. The study aims to investigate the prevalence and associated factors of self-reported symptom-based depression in a national sample of older South Africans who participated in the Study of Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE wave 1) in 2008.
Methods: We conducted a national population-based cross-sectional study with a probability sample of 3,840 individuals aged 50 years or above in South Africa in 2008. The questionnaire included socio-demographic characteristics, health variables, anthropometric and blood pressure measurements as well as questions on depression symptoms in the past 12 months. Multivariable regression analysis was performed to assess the association of socio-demographic factors, health variables, and depression.
Results: The overall prevalence of symptom-based depression in the past 12 months was 4.0%. In multivariable analysis, functional disability, lack of quality of life, and chronic conditions (angina, asthma, arthritis, and nocturnal sleep problems) were associated with self-reported depression symptoms in the past 12 months.
Conclusions: Self-reported depression in older South Africans seems to be a public health problem calling for appropriate interventions to reduce occurrence. Factors identified to be associated with depression, including functional disability, lack of quality of life, and chronic conditions (angina, asthma, arthritis, and nocturnal sleep problems), can be used to guide interventions. The identified protective and risk factors can help in formulating public health care policies to improve quality of life among older adults.