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Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2009 Apr;17(4):324-34. doi: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181953bae.

The Patient Health Questionnaire 8: current depressive symptoms among U.S. older adults, 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

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  • 1Division of Adult and Community Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341-3724, USA.



To examine the prevalence and sociodemographic predictors of current depressive symptoms among adults aged 65 years and older.


Participants were obtained from the 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a population-based list-assisted random-digit-dialed telephone survey of the noninstitutionalized U.S. adults.


A total of 45,534 participants aged 65 years and older were interviewed.


Participants completed the Patient Health Questionnaire 8. Those with a Patient Health Questionnaire 8 score >or=10 were considered to have current depressive symptoms.


Our findings indicated that 95.1% of people >or=65 years old did not report current depressive symptoms and 4.9% reported current depressive symptoms. Younger adults (65-74 years), those with a high school education or less, those with an income of less than $50,000, those with good to fair self-rated health, and those with a disability were more likely to have current depressive symptoms. When stratified by age (65-74, >or=75), there was no difference in the prevalence of current depressive symptoms between the age groups. However, when the authors stratified by age group both adults 65-74 years olds and those >or=75 years old, only people with worse self-rated health and those who reported a disability were more likely to have indicated current depressive symptoms.


The continued collection of data on current depressive symptoms from a population-based sample of older adults can be used by policymakers and public health officials to identify local health needs and burdens that can assist in planning, directing, implementing, and monitoring the effectiveness of strategies.

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