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J Aging Health. 2008 Sep;20(6):653-70. doi: 10.1177/0898264308321002. Epub 2008 Jul 17.

Risk of late-life depression across 10 European Union countries: deconstructing the education effect.

Author information

1
Harvard School of Public Health; Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA), Universit├Ąt Mannheim, 68131 Mannheim, Germany. kladin@post.harvard.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Assess influence of education and noneducation-based measures of socioeconomic status on depression, illuminating the cumulative and income-adjusted effects cross-nationally.

METHOD:

Cross-sectional study of 22,777 men and women (50 to 104 years) from 10 European countries. Individual-level data were collected from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE).

RESULTS:

Educational attainment was a strong predictor of late-life depression across all countries. Depression rates ranged from 18.10% in Denmark to 36.84% in Spain, reflecting a North- South gradient. Odds of depression were approximately twice as high among adults with less than a high school education compared with those of greater educational background (p < .001). Inverse association between educational attainment and depression remained significant independent of all other sociodemographic variables.

DISCUSSION:

Socioeconomic disparities in depression persist throughout later life. Variation in impact of education on depression cross-nationally illuminates need for future research into the protective effects of early-life education.

PMID:
18635752
DOI:
10.1177/0898264308321002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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