Epidemiology of Major and Minor Depression in Rural Elderly Adults

By Emily Blegen.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: January 31, 2016 $US5.00

A lack of research focusing on rural elderly persons with depression perpetuates current underdetection, under-diagnosis, and undertreatment of this population. The objectives of this study were to identify prevalence and demographic characteristics of major, minor, and no depression within a sample of rural elderly (age 65-85) Americans. Wave 1 data of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP) was used, including an exclusive rural indicator coded in 2013. This study used the 10-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) to categorize elderly persons living in the rural setting into groups according to severity of depressive symptomatology. Depending on distribution and type of data, ANOVA or chi-square tests were used. Prevalence of major and minor depression was found to be higher for both major and minor depression groups than previous research suggested. Data revealed significant associations between depression and demographic characteristics. This study recommends better integration of health care systems, increased monitoring of assessment and outcome data of rural elderly who present to primary and mental health care, aggressive outreach into rural communities, attention to rural stereotypes, and further research on rural elderly depression.

Keywords: Geropsychology, Major Depression, Minor Depression, Rural Mental Health, NSHAP, CES-D, Prevalence

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 6, Issue 1, March 2016, pp.75-88. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: January 31, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 591.035KB)).

Dr. Emily Blegen

Doctor of Psychology Candidate, Clinical Psychology, Minnesota School of Professional Psychology, Eagan, MN, USA