Symptomatic Depression in Elderly Medical Outpatients: I. Prevalence, Demography, and Health Service Utilization

Soo Borson, Robert A. Barnes, Walter A. Kukull, Joseph T. Okimoto, Richard C. Veith, Thomas S. Inui, William Carter, Murray A. Raskind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

125 Scopus citations


The authors assessed the prevalence and demography of depressive symptoms, their association with specific chronic diseases, and their influence on health service use in a large sample of elderly men seen in a primary care setting. Twenty-four percent of respondents reported clinically significant depressive symptoms; the prevalence of major depressive disorders was estimated at 10%, but only 1% reported receiving mental health treatment by a specialist. Self-reported marital separation or divorce and physical disability affecting employment were strongly associated with high depression scores, whereas the normative stresses of aging (widowhood, retirement, social isolation) were not. Only chronic lung disease was differentially associated with high depression scores, and this effect was weak. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for the design of comprehensive health services for the elderly with chronic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-347
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1986
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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