Background and objective: Since depression is one of the main problems of elderly subjects, it is important to examine the prevalence of this condition and to identify associated factors. Methods: A total of 1525 cognitively normal subjects aged 65 years and over in the town of Tajiri, a typical agricultural town in Japan, were analysed. Their MMSE (mini-mental state examination) scores were 24 or over. Depressive state was assessed by Zung's SDS (self-rating depression scale) with a comprehensive interview to examine ADL, demographics and symptoms associated with illness, etc. The prevalence of depression was calculated. To determine the factors associated with depression, the t-test and the Chi-square test were used. To examine the relative strength of each factor, logistic regression analysis was performed. Results: The ratio of the depressive subjects was 6.4%, lower than those of previous reports, probably due to the effect of excluding dementia subjects. The ratio for older females aged 80 years and over was 14.3%, which was significantly higher than that of the males. Among socio-demographic factors, sex, age, number of children and perception of economic status, were significantly related. For health status and ADL, such factors as perception of health and medical history of heart disease and rheumatism were related. For familial and social status, factors such as daily activity and several conversation abilities were related. The logistic regression analysis indicated that perception of health and daily activity were associated. Conclusions: In this study, we isolated some factors related to depression in a cognitively normal population. Knowledge of such factors is important for appropriate mental care of aged subjects.
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