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Depression ‘may become more common with age’

16th November 2015

Researchers have identified evidence that depressive symptoms may become more frequent as people grow older.

Led by the University of Bradford, the study built on a 15-year project observing more than 2,000 older Australians living in the Adelaide area. Previous studies have shown an increase in depressive symptoms with age, but none have examined the issue beyond the age of 85.

Results published in the journal Psychology and Aging showed that both men and women taking part in the study reported increasingly more depressive symptoms as they aged, with women initially starting with more depressive symptoms than men.

However, men showed a faster rate of increase in symptoms, resulting in a reversal in the difference between the genders at around the age of 80.

Key factors include levels of physical impairment, the onset of medical conditions – particularly chronic ones – and the prospect of death. Both men and women with the chronic condition reported more depressive symptoms than those without.

Psychology lecturer and study leader Dr Helena Chui said: "We are in a period of unprecedented success in terms of people living longer than ever and in greater numbers and we should be celebrating this but it seems that we are finding it hard to cope."ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801805829-ADNFCR

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