The British Journal of Psychiatry
Depression in Europe. Geographical distribution among older people.
J R Copeland, A T Beekman, M E Dewey, C Hooijer, A Jordan, B A Lawlor, A Lobo, H Magnusson, A H Mann, I Meller, M J Prince, F Reischies, C Turrina, M W deVries, K C Wilson

Abstract

BACKGROUND This is the first report of results from the EURODEP Programme.

AIMS To assess the prevalence of depression judged suitable for intervention in randomised samples of those aged > or = 65 in nine European centres.

METHOD The GMS-AGECAT package.

RESULTS Differences in prevalence are apparent, 8.8% (Iceland) to 236% (Munich). When sub-cases and cases are added together, five high- and four low-scoring centres emerge. Women predominated over men. Proportions of sub-cases to cases revealed striking differences but did not explain prevalence. There was no constant association between prevalence and age. A meta-analysis (n = 13,808) gave an overall prevalence of 12.3%, 14.1% for women and 8.6% for men.

CONCLUSIONS Considerable variation occurs in the levels of depression across Europe, the cause for which is not immediately obvious. Case and sub-case levels taken together show greater variability, suggesting that it is not a matter of case/sub-case selection criteria, which were standardised by computer. Substantial levels of depression are shown but 62-82% of persons had no depressive level. Opportunities for treatment exist.