Prevalence and predictors of depressive symptoms among rural older Australians and Americans

Buys, Laurie, Roberto, Karen A., Miller, Evonne, & Blieszner, Rosemary (2008) Prevalence and predictors of depressive symptoms among rural older Australians and Americans. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 16(1), pp. 33-39.

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Objective: To examine the predictors of depressive symptoms among older married rural Australian and American men and women, using comparable measures from two separate studies. Design: Postal survey for Australians; telephone interviews for Americans. Setting: Rural Australia (6 states and 2 territories) and America (Virginia). Participants: Older married rural men and women, aged 65 years and over, in Australia (n=216) and America (n=156). Main outcome measures: Whether predictors of depressive symptoms, specifically demographic factors, health, pain, functional limitations and social networks, differed according to nationality or sex. Results: Approximately one third of older rural Australian (37%) and Americans (28%) reported recently experiencing depressive symptoms. For Australian men and women, pain was the strongest predictor of depressive symptoms. For American women, dissatisfaction with social support predicted depressive symptoms, whereas no variable predicted depressive symptoms in American men. Conclusions: In the context of a globally ageing population, the fact that nearly one in three older rural people on two continents described themselves as recently feeling depressed is a troubling finding of considerable importance to both practitioners and policy makers. The findings raise questions about the cultural acceptance, definition, and manifestations of symptoms of depression in rural communities, as well as the role of different public health and support systems in the two countries.

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18 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 12351
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Australia, cultural differences, depression, elderly, rural ageing, USA
DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1584.2007.00948.x
ISSN: 1038-5282
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Geriatrics and Gerontology (110308)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Blackwell Publishing
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at
Deposited On: 07 Feb 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:42

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