Past Issues

Prevalence of Depression and Its Correlates among Institutionalized Veterans in Southern Taiwan

Ling-Hsiang Wang, M.D. Philip C. Chow, M.D., MSc1 Chin-Liang Chu, M.D.1 Shiu-Lan Tou, B.S.1 Ti Lu, M.D., M.S.1 Yuh-Te Lin, M.D.2,3 Yuk-Keung Lo, M.D.2,3,4 Ching-Mo Chueh, M.D.5

Objective:The aims of this study are (A) to investigate the prevalence of depressive symptoms and depressive disorders among those residing in veterans’homes, (B) to analyze the related risk factors, and (C) to compare these results with those reported by other studies on Taiwanese veterans. Methods:Our study sample comprised of 1,313 residents within two veterans’ homes in southern Taiwan whose depressive symptoms were evaluated using the Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form (GDS-SF). Then, three psychiatrists did diagnostic interviews on GDS-positive (GDS≥5) subjects to confi rm the presence of depressive disorders. Assessments were also to include the information of cognitive function, suicidality, personal background, and medical history. Results: Based on 949 male veterans the prevalence of depressive symptoms (GDS≥5) was found to be 14.9%, and that of depressive disorders 4.3%. In analyzing the related risk factors, we found that veterans who had received only primary school education were less depressive than those with tertiary education (OR=0.47), and that those veterans with mild cognitive impairment (CDR 0.5) were found to be more depressive than those with more severe degrees of such impairment (CDR 1 to 3) (OR=2.29). Conclusion: The results of this study reveal a correlation between the educational level, degree of cognitive impairment and overall depressive symptoms of those residing in veterans’ homes. Further exploration is needed to clarify the underlying factors responsible for the differences between the results of the present study and those of several other studies on veterans’ homes in Taiwan.
Key Word geriatric depression; geriatric depression scale (GDS); veterans homes; prevalence
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