The epidemiology of psychological problems of the elderly
Authors: D. L. Streiner, J. Cairney, and S. Veldhuizen
To determine the prevalence of mood, anxiety, and other disorders in the population of Canadians aged 55 years and over. We undertook an analysis of the Canadian Community Health Survey: Mental Health and Well-Being (CCHS 1.2). There was a linear decrease for all disorders after age 55 years. This was true for men and women; for anglophones, francophones, and allophones; and for both people born in Canada and people who immigrated to Canada after age 18 years. Consistent with previous research, the prevalences were higher for women than men. Immigrants reported fewer problems than nonimmigrants, with the differences decreasing with age. Francophones of both sexes reported more mood disorder than anglophones, but francophone men had less anxiety disorder than anglophone men. Unlike other studies that have found an upturn in the prevalence of depression and anxiety in the elderly, our results indicate a steady decrease in these disorders. Our findings are discussed in terms of explanations for age-related differences in psychiatric disorders.
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