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Socio-economic deprivation and the prevalence and prediction of depression in older community residents: The MRC–ALPHA study

  • K. C. M. Wilson (a1), S. Taylor (a1), J. R. M. Copeland (a1), R. Chen (a2) and C. F. M. McCracken (a2)...

Abstract

Background

The Townsend index is a measure of social deprivation. It can be applied to postal districts and has been employed in studies examining the ecological associations of mental illness.

Aims

We examine the utility of the Townsend index in identifying older populations with a high prevalence and risk of developing depression.

Method

The study was carried out in the context of a cohort study of an age- and gender-stratified sample of 5222 community residents aged 65 years and over. Subjects were interviewed at intervals of two years. The relationships between Townsend score and psychiatric diagnoses (in particular, depression) were examined.

Results

High Townsend scores were associated with increased prevalence and incidence of depression and prevalence of organic psychiatric illness.

Conclusions

The Townsend index can be used to prioritise psychiatric and primary care resources so as to cater for older populations likely to suffer from depression and organic psychiatric conditions.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Professor K. C. M. Wilson, Department of Psychiatry, University of Liverpool, EMI Academic Unit, St Catherine's Hospital, Church Road, Birkenhead CH42 0LQ. Tel: 0151-604 7333; Fax: 0151-653 3441

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

The ALPHA study was funded by a Medical Research Council Special Project Grant.

Footnotes

References

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Socio-economic deprivation and the prevalence and prediction of depression in older community residents: The MRC–ALPHA study

  • K. C. M. Wilson (a1), S. Taylor (a1), J. R. M. Copeland (a1), R. Chen (a2) and C. F. M. McCracken (a2)...

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Socio-economic deprivation and the prevalence and prediction of depression in older community residents: The MRC–ALPHA study

  • K. C. M. Wilson (a1), S. Taylor (a1), J. R. M. Copeland (a1), R. Chen (a2) and C. F. M. McCracken (a2)...
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