Factors associated with and prevalence of depressive features amongst older adults in an urban city in eastern China

Ping Shao, Yong Xu, Chen-Wei Pan


Background: Mental health problems have become serious for older Chinese adults who have lived through the process of urbanisation. This current research aimed to determine the prevalence of and associated factors for depressive features in a community-based sample of older adults in China.

Methods: A community-based survey of 4077 adults aged 60 or older was conducted in Suzhou, China. Information including demographic characteristics, health behaviours, social support, disease histories and physical function was collected using a pre-designed questionnaire. Depressive features were assessed using the self-rating depression scale. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify associated factors for depression.

Results: The overall prevalence of depressive features in the surveyed population was 47.4% (45.9% in men and 48.5% in women). In a multiple logistic regression analysis, the significant variables of depressive features were no fixed occupation (odds ratio [OR] = 0.28; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.21–0.37), doing non-technical and service work (OR = 0.23; 95% CI: 0.19–0.28) or being a manager and technical personnel (OR = 0.25; 95% CI: 0.19–0.32), physical activities (OR = 0.71; 95% CI: 0.61–0.82), never taking dietary supplements (OR = 0.73; 95% CI: 0.58–0.91), not having hobbies (OR = 1.34; 95% CI: 1.15–1.56), never interacting with neighbours (OR = 1.79; 95% CI: 1.28–2.50), cold relationship with a spouse (OR = 3.34; 95% CI: 1.18–9.45) and limited activities of daily living (OR = 2.27; 95% CI: 1.91–2.69).

Conclusion: There is an urgent need for public policy interventions to address depression in elderly people located in Suzhou in China.


depressive features; older adult; associated factors; prevalence; urbanization; Chinese

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v23i0.1064

Submitted: 16 September 2016
Published: 28 March 2017

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South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)