Depression in elderly primary health care clinic attendees in Ilorin, Nigeria

  • O.A. Adegunloye
  • O.I.N. Buhari
  • O.A. Abiodun
Keywords: Elderly, Depression, GDS-SF, Screening


Depression in the elderly presenting at primary care settings is usually under- detected by primary care physicians. This study assessed the prevalence of depression and the utility of the Geriatric Depression Scale (Short Form) in detecting depression in elderly patients in primary care populations in Ilorin, Nigeria.

This was a two stage cross-sectional study with data obtained from three primary care centres in Ilorin, using a proforma for socio-demographic variables and GDS-SF for depression screening. The second stage involved use of Depression Module of MINI (without knowledge of first stage scores) on all those with scores of ≥6 and a 15% random sample of those with scores <6 on GDS-SF. Data analysis was by use of SPSS version 21 while level of significance was set at P< 0.05.

A total of 463 patients participated in the study. Prevalence of depression was found to be 3.2%. Depression was not found to be significantly associated with socio-demographic factors, but being divorced, separated or widowed, as well as, being female, increased age, feeling lonely and presence of at least one chronic physical illness showed trends towards caseness on GDS-SF. All 15 patients who screened positive on GDS-SF for depression were confirmed on MINI interview to be cases of depression. 

In conclusion the use of short screening instrument such as GDS-SF may improve detection rate for late life depression in busy primary care clinics in Nigeria. Primary care physicians should particularly look out for at risk groups such as divorced, separated and widowed elderly patients for routine screening for depression.

Keywords: Elderly, Depression, GDS-SF, Screening


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eISSN: 1117-4153