Gender-Specific Predictors of Depressive Symptoms among Community Elderly

Mahbobeh Faramarzi, Mahla Cheraghi, Mohammad Zamani, Farzan Kheirkhah, Ali Bijani, Seyed Reza Hosseini


Background: We aimed to determine the gender-specific predictors of depressive symptoms among an Iranian elderly community population.

Study design: A cross-sectional study.

Methods: This study was performed on elderly subjects (aged ≥60 yr) who participated in the Amirkola Health and Aging Project, Amirkola, Babol, northern Iran in 2011-12. Depression was assessed by the Geriatric Depression Scale. Fourteen variables, including marital status, age, education, occupation, living alone, social support, dependency in daily activities, physical activity, smoking, body mass index, chronic pain, medicine use, comorbidities, and cognitive impairment, were analyzed as predictors of depression.

Results: In males, age group of 80-84 yr (odds ratio (OR)=0.22, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.09, 0.55), occupation (OR=0.62, 95% CI: 0.42, 0.90) and social support (OR=0.82, 95% CI: 0.77, 0.88) had protective effects against depression, and smoking (OR=1.67, 95% CI: 1.15, 2.44), cognitive impairment (OR=2.18, 95% CI: 1.34, 3.45) and comorbidities(OR=1.42, 95% CI: 1.27, 1.60) were found as risk factors. In females, social support (OR=0.97, 95% CI: 0.65, 1.44) and higher education (OR=0.10, 95% CI: 0.01, 0.84) were two protective factors against depression, and being unmarried (OR=1.88, 95% CI: 1.13, 2.35), cognitive impairment (OR=1.50, 95% CI: 1.01, 2.21), comorbidities(OR=1.30, 95% CI: 1.18, 1.44) and chronic pain (OR=1.57, 95% CI: 1.01, 2.44) were four positive predictors of depression.

Conclusions: There were both similarities and differences in predictors of depression between old males and females. These findings suggest physicians and healthcare executives consider gender-specific risk/protective factors to improve preventive mental health programs in older males and females.


Cognitive Dysfunction; Sex; Depressive Disorder; Comorbidity

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