Nearly one third of older rural people in Australia and America suffer from depression according to a study in the Wiley-Blackwell journal – Australian Journal of Rural Health.
The study “Prevalence and Predicators of Depressive Symptoms among Rural Older Australians and Americans” examines and compares the factors causing depression among married people from the two continents, and seeks to extend the knowledge about the prevalence and predictors of rural late-life depressive symptoms.
Depression is a mood disorder characterized by chronic sadness and feelings of hopelessness. It is estimated that almost half of older adults suffer from minor depression while another 4% suffer from more serious clinical depression.
Lead author, Dr Evonne Miller says, “With a quarter of the population predicted to be 60 years of older by 2050, the high numbers of older people suffering from depression is a troubling find for practitioners and policy-makers.”
The key determinant for depression symptoms in Australians was pain. The dissatisfaction in social support predicted depressive symptoms for American women, while American men had no single variable predicting depression.
Results of the study also demonstrate that albeit having similar levels of depression, depressive symptoms differed between genders and nationality. While the men of the two countries have similar rates of depressive symptoms of about 40%, twice as many Australian women report having depression compared to American women.
“With nearly one in every three older rural people describing themselves as feeling depressed, it is essential to develop culturally appropriate and socially acceptable interventions and support programs for rural communities.” says Dr. Miller.
This paper is published in the February 2008 issue of Australian Journal of Rural Health.
Media wishing to receive a PDF of the study or schedule media interviews with the authors should contact Alina Boey, PR & Communications Manager Asia.
About Australian Journal of Rural Health
The Australian Journal of Rural Health is a multidisciplinary refereed journal, and since its inception in 1993 has contributed to the accumulation of knowledge of rural health in Australia. The Journal aims to establish a national and international reputation for the quality of its scholarly discourse and value to rural health professionals. In 1999 the Australian Journal of Rural Health became the official journal of the National Rural Health Alliance, which is the peak body for rural and remote health organizations in Australia. As well as its readers in Australia, the Journal is taken by subscribers in Canada, Japan, USA and the United Kingdom. Readership includes general practitioners, nurses, allied health professionals, pharmacists, health administrators, universities, rural health units and libraries.
Wiley-Blackwell (blackwellpublishing.com) was formed in February 2007 as a result of the acquisition of Blackwell Publishing Ltd. by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and its merger with Wiley’s Scientific, Technical, and Medical business. Together, the companies have created a global publishing business with deep strength in every major academic and professional field. Wiley-Blackwell publishes approximately 1,400 scholarly peer-reviewed journals and an extensive collection of books with global appeal.