Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-nr4z6 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-30T18:49:13.443Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Gender differences in the trajectories and the risk factors of depressive symptoms in later life

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 May 2017

Jiae Lee
Department of Public Health Science, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
Soong-Nang Jang
Red Cross College of Nursing, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, South Korea
Sung-Il Cho*
Department of Public Health Science, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
Correspondence should be addressed to: Sung-Il Cho, Professor, Department of Public Health Science, Graduate School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, South Korea. Phone: +82-2-880-2717; Fax +82-2-743-8240. Email:



The present study investigated changes in the trajectories of depressive symptoms in the elderly and attempted to identify risk factors that influence these changes according to gender.


All data were obtained from a subsample of subjects who participated in the Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing between 2006 and 2012; 3,667 individuals (1,566 men and 2,101 women) aged 60 years and older were included in the present study. A group-based trajectory model was employed to determine the appropriate number of groups and to observe changes in depressive symptoms according to research year. Following the trajectory analysis, a multinomial regression analysis was performed to examine depressive symptom-related risk factors that influenced membership in the different trajectory groups.


Significant gender differences were found in the trajectories of depressive symptoms among four groups (normal, mild depressed, worsening, and depressed) in men and five groups (normal, mild depressed, worsening, improving, and depressed) in women. Among the trajectory groups, physical health status such as chronic diseases, self-rated health (SRH), and somatic pain showed statistically significant differences in both genders. In addition, employment in men and social participation in women were associated with the trajectories.


The present study suggested that maintaining one's physical health status played an important role in preventing depressive symptoms and that employment in men and social participation in women were preventative against the development of depressive symptoms.

Research Article
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2017 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Arola, H. M., Nicholls, E., Mallen, C. and Thomas, E. (2010). Self‐reported pain interference and symptoms of anxiety and depression in community‐dwelling older adults: can a temporal relationship be determined? European Journal of Pain, 14, 966971.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Barcelos-Ferreira, R., Pinto, J. A., Nakano, E. Y., Steffens, D. C., Litvoc, J. and Bottino, C. M. (2009). Clinically significant depressive symptoms and associated factors in community elderly subjects from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 17, 582590.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Barrett, A. et al. (2011). Fifty Plus in Ireland 2011: First Results From the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). Dublin: Trinity College Dublin.Google Scholar
Beekman, A. T., Deeg, D. J., van Tilburg, T., Smit, J. H., Hooijer, C. and van Tilburg, W. (1995). Major and minor depression in later life: a study of prevalence and risk factors. Journal of affective disorders, 36, 6575.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Berkman, L. F. et al. (1986). Depressive symptoms in relation to physical health and functioning in the elderly. American Journal of Epidemiology, 124, 372388.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Blay, S. L., Andreoli, S. B., Fillenbaum, G. G. and Gastal, F. ‘L. (2007). Depression morbidity in later life: prevalence and correlates in a developing country. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 15, 790799.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Chiao, C., Weng, L.-J. and Botticello, A. L. (2011). Social participation reduces depressive symptoms among older adults: an 18-year longitudinal analysis in Taiwan. BMC Public Health, 11, 1.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cole, M. G. and Dendukuri, N. (2003). Risk factors for depression among elderly community subjects: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160, 11471156.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Diniz, B. S., Butters, M. A., Albert, S. M., Dew, M. A. and Reynolds, C. F. (2013). Late-life depression and risk of vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease: systematic review and meta-analysis of community-based cohort studies. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 202, 329335.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Goldney, R. D., Fisher, L. J., Wilson, D. H. and Cheok, F. (2000). Major depression and its associated morbidity and quality of life in a random, representative Australian community sample. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 34, 10221029.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harris, E. C. and Barraclough, B. (1997). Suicide as an outcome for mental disorders. A meta-analysis. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 170, 205228.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Irwin, M., Artin, K. H. and Oxman, M. N. (1999). Screening for depression in the older adult: criterion validity of the 10-item center for epidemiological studies depression scale (CES-D). Archives of Internal Medicine, 159, 17011704.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jones, B. L., Nagin, D. S. and Roeder, K. (2001). A SAS procedure based on mixture models for estimating developmental trajectories. Sociological Methods & Research, 29, 374393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kang, E. and Han, G. (2002). Korean women's life trajectories and later lives. Journal of Korean Family Relations, 7, 99126.Google Scholar
Kang, H. et al. (2014). Pseudo-dementia: a neuropsychological review. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, 17, 147.Google ScholarPubMed
Kennedy, G. J., Kelman, H. R. and Thomas, C. (1990). The emergence of depressive symptoms in late life: the importance of declining health and increasing disability. Journal of community health, 15, 93104.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kiloh, L. G. (1961). Pseudo‐dementia. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 37, 336351.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kim, D. and Sohn, E. (2005). A meta-analysis of the variables related to depression in elderly. Journal of the Korean Gerontological society, 25, 167187.Google Scholar
Korea Labor Institute (2009). Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing (KLoSA) 2006. Gwacheon: Ministry of Labor.Google Scholar
Lee, H. (2006). Understanding the life of Korean elders through qualitative research-focusing on understanding the life of Korean female elders. J. Welfare, 31, 7399.Google Scholar
Lorant, V., Croux, C., Weich, S., Deliège, D., Mackenbach, J. and Ansseau, M. (2007). Depression and socio-economic risk factors: 7-year longitudinal population study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 190, 293298.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Minicuci, N., Maggi, S., Pavan, M., Enzi, G. and Crepaldi, G. (2002). Prevalence rate and correlates of depressive symptoms in older individuals the veneto study. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 57, M155–M161.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Nagin, D. S. (2005). Group-Based Modeling of Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nolen–Hoeksema, S., Larson, J. and Grayson, C. (1999). Explaining the gender difference in depressive symptoms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1061.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Novick, D., Montgomery, W., Bertsch, J., Peng, X., Brugnoli, R. and Haro, J. M. (2015). Impact of painful physical symptoms on depression outcomes in elderly Asian patients. International Psychogeriatrics, 27, 305312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
OECD (2011). Society at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2011. Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
Olvera, R., Fisher–Hoch, S., Williamson, D., Vatcheva, K. and McCormick, J. (2016). Depression in Mexican Americans with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes. Psychological Medicine, 46, 637646.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pyne, J. M., Patterson, T. L., Kaplan, R. M. and Ho, S. (1997). Preliminary longitudinal assessment of quality of life in patients with major depression. Psychopharmacology Bulletin, 33, 23.Google ScholarPubMed
Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale a self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Radloff, L. S. and Teri, L. (1986). Use of the center for epidemiological studies-depression scale with older adults. Clinical Gerontologist, 5, 119136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Richard, E. et al. (2013). Late-life depression, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia. JAMA Neurology, 70, 383389.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Schwarzbach, M., Luppa, M., Forstmeier, S., König, H. H. and Riedel‐Heller, S. G. (2014). Social relations and depression in late life-a systematic review. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 29, 121.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Statistics Korea (2016). 2016 Statistics on the Aged. Daejeon: Statistics Korea.Google Scholar
Yoshimasu, K., Kiyohara, C., Miyashita, K. and The Stress Research Group of the Japanese Society for Hygiene (2008). Suicidal risk factors and completed suicide: meta-analyses based on psychological autopsy studies. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 13, 243256.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Zivin, K. et al. (2010). Depression among older adults in the United States and England. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 18, 10361044.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: File

Lee supplementary material

Table A

Download Lee supplementary material(File)
File 13.2 KB