PMID: 37767Jun 1, 1979

A field study of depression in old age

Aktuelle Gerontologie
A Stenback


The frequency and nature of depression were studied in a random sample of septuagenarians obtained from the Birth Register of the City of Helsinki. Out of 400 newborns in 1903, 261 were pronounced dead in 1973. Of the remaining 139, 106 were examined. Four were chronic mental patients. In the clinical examination of the remaining 102 subjects, 25 were diagnosed as depressive. According to the Beck Depression Inventory 29, or 48.9 percent of the 60 subjects who consented to psychological testing, were depressive. In half of the 25 depressive subjects, chronic disabling disease was the main etiological factor. In the other cases, the main causes were loss of significant personality retirement, and other psychosocial factors involved in aging. Frequency of hypochondria was only 3.9 percent. The prognosis of active treatment was deemed good in the subjects with psychosocial disturbances. Interest in physical exercises and participation in voluntary associations correlated with absence of depression.

Related Concepts

Geriatric Psychiatry Specialty
Disabling Disease
Abuse Dwarfism Syndrome
Depressive Symptoms
Mentally Ill Persons
Personality Disorders
Psychological Tests (Procedure)
Beck Depression Inventory

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