The British Journal of Psychiatry
Social origins of depression in old age.
E Murphy


In a comparison between elderly depressed subjects and normal elderly people in the general population, an association was found between severe life events, major social difficulties, poor physical health and the onset of depression. Working class subjects within the general population had a higher incidence of depression and this appeared to be explained by their poorer health and greater social difficulties. Those elderly people who lacked a confiding relationship were more vulnerable to depression. Evidence is presented that the lack of a confidant was a reflection of life-long personality traits.