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We sought to explore factors associated with depressive symptom severity among older persons (≥60 years of age) and to compare the depressive symptoms commonly experienced by older elderly (≥75 years) with those commonly experienced by younger elderly (<75 years).
Secondary analysis was conducted on data from a nationally representative survey.
Four parishes in Jamaica.
A total of 2,943 older community dwellers participated.
The survey included the Zung Self-rating Depression Scale (ZSDS), the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), and items on age, sex, and educational level. Linear regression analysis was used to determine the association between ZSDS score and: age, sex, MMSE score, and educational level. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine, for each ZSDS item, whether particular responses were more associated with older or younger elderly.
Higher ZSDS scores were associated with increasing age (B = 0.13, p < 0.001), lower MMSE score (B = −0.42, p < 0.001), the female sex (B = 3.52, p < 0.001), and lower educational level (B = −1.27, p < 0.001). The ZSDS items that were endorsed significantly more (p < 0.05) by older elderly related to negative evaluations about their functionality and value. Hopelessness was also more prominent among the older elderly. The items that were endorsed significantly more (p < 0.05) by the younger elderly had less of a focus.
Among older persons, increasing age was associated with marginally higher levels of depressive symptoms. Female gender, cognitive deficits, preoccupations about value and functionality, and feelings of hopelessness may serve as useful screening parameters.
We aimed to determine the prevalence of alcohol use among older Jamaicans as well as to explore among this population the relationships between alcohol use and: age, sex, depressive symptoms, and life satisfaction. Although the nature of these relationships among the proposed study population were uncertain, in other settings alcohol use has tended to decline with increasing age, occur more commonly among men than women, and show non-linear relationships with depressive symptoms and life satisfaction.
Data gathered by two-stage cluster sampling for a nationally representative health and lifestyle survey of 2,943 community-dwelling older Jamaicans, aged 60 to 103 years, were subjected to secondary analysis using the Student's t-test and χ2 test as appropriate.
Current alcohol use was reported by 21.4% of the participants. It steadily declined with age and was six times more prevalent among men (37.6%) than women (6.2%). These findings were statistically significant as were associations of current alcohol use with comparatively lower levels of depressive symptoms. Current alcohol use was also more prevalent among persons who were either highly satisfied or highly dissatisfied with their lives, compared to others who had levels of life satisfaction between these two extremes.
Current alcohol use among older Jamaicans occurs primarily among men, declines with increasing age, and is associated with a relatively low likelihood of depression. It is also associated with very high and very low levels of life satisfaction.
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