Race, ethnicity among risk factors for elderly depression

  • Hooker K & al.
  • Gerontologist
  • 17 Dec 2018

  • curated by Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Clinical Essentials
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  • 10% of people aged ≥65 years screened positive for depression, with the highest rates in people aged ≥85 years and those who self-reported as Puerto Rican, as of multiple Hispanic origins, as American Indian or Alaskan Native, as Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and as of 2 or more races.

Why this matters

  • The study examined disaggregated racial/ethnic groups, offering a greater degree of specificity than prior studies that aggregated study populations by broad ethnic categories.

Study design

  • Racially diverse groups of adults (age, ≥65 years; n=175,956) were identified from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health Outcomes Survey.
  • Funding: Petersen Gerontology and Family Studies fund, Oregon State University.

Key results

  • Overall, 17,957 (10.21%) adults aged ≥65 years reported Patient Health Questionnaire-2 scores ≥3.
  • Depression was most common among adults aged ≥85 years (13.63%), followed by those aged 65-74 years (9.74%) and those aged 75-84 years (9.67%).
  • Compared with whites, higher odds for depression (P=.00) were noted among:
    • Hispanic-Mexicans: aOR, 1.19;
    • Hispanic-Puerto Ricans: aOR, 1.46;
    • Hispanic-Cubans: aOR, 1.57;
    • Hispanic-other: aOR, 1.29;
    • those of multiple Hispanic ethnicities: aOR, 1.84;
    • black/African Americans: aOR, 1.20;
    • Asian Indians: aOR,1.67;
    • Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders: aOR, 1.82; and
    • those of 2 or more races: aOR, 1.50.


  • Data from community-dwelling adults may not be generalizable.

Coauthored with Chitra Ravi, MPharm

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