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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2009 Sep;64(5):666-76. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbp026. Epub 2009 May 4.

Later-life mental health in Europe: a country-level comparison.

Author information

1
Centre for Population Studies, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, London, WC1B 3DP, UK. George.Ploubidis@LSHTM.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the influence of country of residence on depression and well-being among older Europeans, after establishing the between-country measurement invariance of both constructs.

METHODS:

We used data from a cross-sectional nationally representative population-based sample of older Europeans, the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The analysis sample comprised 13,498 older Europeans from nine countries. The EURO-D was used to measure depression, and a well-being outcome was derived from self-report items available in SHARE. The between-country measurement invariance of both mental health outcomes was established using modern psychometric modeling techniques.

RESULTS:

After adjustment for demographic characteristics and the presence of chronic illness, Spain was the country scoring highest on depression and Denmark highest on well-being. Optimal mental health was associated with higher educational attainment and being married.

DISCUSSION:

There is considerable between-country heterogeneity in later-life mental health in Europe. The Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands, and Austria, do best (low depression/high well-being), followed by Germany and France, whereas residents of Spain, Italy, and Greece report the worst mental health.

PMID:
19414867
DOI:
10.1093/geronb/gbp026
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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