Do elderly people feel sad and depressed? Mental health of ageing people. A cross-country comparison based on SHARE

Isabella Buber-Ennser, Vienna Institute of Demography

A person’s mental health is an important aspect of well-being and the prevalence of psychiatric disorders is greater than previously thought (Bowers et al. 1990, Drake et al. 2001). We focuses on the mental health of elderly people in Europe using a comparative approach to reveal age-, gender- and country-specific differences. By controlling for several socio-economic and demographic factors we aim to gain more insight in the situation of the mental health of elderly people. The paper is based on the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), including eleven European countries. First analyses reveal that more than one third of elderly people feel sad or depressed with age-, gender- and country-specific differences: Especially very old people are more likely to feel sad or depressed. Consistent with previous literature (Kessler at al. 1994) we find elevated rates of affective disorders among women.

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Presented in Session 45: Health and health inequalities at older ages