Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
CNS Spectr. 2012 Sep;17(3):142-54. doi: 10.1017/S1092852912000533. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

Age and risk for depression among the elderly: a meta-analysis of the published literature.

Author information

  • 1Department of Geriatrics, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China.



The goal of this study was to determine the relationship between age and risk for depression among the old and the oldest old. Method MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library database were used to identify potential studies. The studies were divided into cross-sectional and longitudinal subsets. For each study, the numbers of the total participants, cases (for cross-sectional study), or incident cases (for longitudinal study) of depression in each age group were extracted and entered into Review Manager 4.2 software. Qualitative meta-analyses of cross-sectional studies and of longitudinal studies were performed. For prevalence and incidence rates of depression, odds risk (OR) and relative risk (RR) were calculated, respectively.


The qualitative meta-analyses showed that, compared with younger participants (above vs. below 65 years, above vs. below 70 years, above vs. below 75 years, and above vs. below 80 years), older age groups had a significantly higher risk for depression. (All of the ORs and RRs were significant.) Compared with participants aged 55-89, those aged above 90 years had no higher risk for depression. (Neither the OR nor the RR was significant.)


Despite the methodological limitations of this meta-analysis, older age appears to be an important risk factor for depression in the general elderly population (aged below 80 years), but not in the oldest population (aged above 85 years).

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Cambridge University Press
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk