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Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2001 Jun;22(4):401-20.

The meaning of depression from the life-world perspective of elderly women.

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  • 1Karlstad University, Division for Health and Caring Sciences, SE-651 88 Karlstad, Sweden. birgitta.hedelin@kau.se

Abstract

Depression is a serious public health problem that particularly affects women and elderly people. The aim of this phenomenological study was to gain a deeper understanding of depression in elderly women by investigating and describing the meaning of depression from a life-world perspective. Qualitative interviews were conducted with five elderly women suffering from depression; they were transcribed and analysed using the phenomenological method. The essence of depression emerged as 'reexperiencing a severe personal insult' and the perception of 'increased sensitivity and vulnerability.' These two components constituted the breeding ground for an additional five characteristics. Depression was perceived as a severe multidimensional suffering that affected physical, mental, social, and spiritual aspects, where previous experiences merged with the current situation. Thus, the whole life space of these women was affected. In its most severe form, depression and, thereby, life was perceived as unbearable. The meaning that emerged from the women's descriptions can be understood against the background of the aging individual's retrospection and summation of life.

PMID:
11885156
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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