Depression more prevalent in elderly women, researchers find

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Elderly women are more likely to be depressed and to remain depressed than their elderly male counterparts, according to results of a newly published study.

Researchers interviewed 754 seniors over the age of 70 who lived in eldercare communities and required no assistance with activities of daily living. Every 18 months for six years, these seniors were evaluated using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), an 11-point test that determines the severity of depression symptoms.

At the start of the study, the rate of depression among women was 17.7%, compared with 5.2% among men. Over the course of the six years, depression rates in both genders rose, but women maintained a significantly higher rate than men. Up to 26.7% of women showed symptoms of depression, authors report. The highest reported rate among men was 10.6%. Researchers remain uncertain about the reason for the disparity between men and women.