Objective: To explore possible associations of age, gender, socio-economic status, educational level and level of cognitive functioning with depressive symptoms in a community sample of elderly persons.
Method: Two hundred elderly persons from two communities in Kingston, Jamaica, were randomly selected for participation in the study. They or their caregivers provided sociodemographic information and participants also completed the Zung Self-rating Depression Scale (ZSDS) and the Mini Mental Status Examination (MMSE). Variables of interest were entered in a multiple variable regression model using ZSDS score as the outcome variable.
Results: Predictors of depression were older age (B = 0.26, se = 0.08, p < 0.01), female gender (B = 3.98, se = 1.44, p < 0.01), low socio-economic status (B = 5.14, se = 1.50, p = 0.01) and low level of cognitive function (B = -0.38, se = 0.18, p < 0.05). No statistically significant association was found between educational attainment and depressive symptoms.
Conclusion: The findings highlight the need for further exploration of the extent to which the associations identified are relevant for the overall population of elderly persons as well as the potential value of targeted preventive and treatment interventions.