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Psicologia, Saúde & Doenças

Print version ISSN 1645-0086


PIMENTEL, Ana Filipa; AFONSO, Rosa Marina  and  PEREIRA, Henrique. Depression and support in old age. Psic., Saúde & Doenças [online]. 2012, vol.13, n.2, pp.311-327. ISSN 1645-0086.

There is a high incidence of depression in old age, being its prevalence higher in institutionalized elderly, which is sometimes related to the threat or actual rupture of affective bonds and support. This research aims at assessing depressive symptoms and satisfaction with social support, and their association, in institutionalized elderly. A cross-sectional and descriptive design was developed. A socio-demographic questionnaire, the Geriatric Depression Scale and the Satisfaction with Social Support Scale were applied to 117 institutionalized Portuguese elderly, older than 65 years. The results indicated a high incidence of depression in the institutionalized elderly (73.5%). The level of depression tends to be higher in the elderly over 75 years old (t(115)=-2.115, p=.037, M=17.88, SD=8.17) and who did not enter the nursing home by their own initiative (t(115)=-2.586, p=.011, M=19.05, SD=7.64). The average satisfaction with social support was high (M=58.59, SD=6.93), the older female participants presented the highest satisfaction rate with social support (t(115)=-2.456, p=.016, M=59.49, SD=6.01). The results obtained also report a significant negative correlation (r=-.36, p<.01) between the levels of depressive symptoms and the levels of satisfaction with social support. The results suggest that social support can mitigate depressive symptoms in the elderly.

Keywords : Aging; Depression; Social Support; Institutionalization.

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