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Physical and mental health at third age - risk factors

Author(s): Manolescu Suzana | Rada Cornelia

Journal: International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health
ISSN 1840-4529

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 232;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Third-age | depression | BMI

Objectives: Identifying biological and socio-demographic factors influencing old people’s health stateand their impact on their life; psychological evaluation of a third-age (60-90 years) cohort.Methods: The sample was made up of 120 urban subjects of both sexes, aged between 60-90 years,evenly distributed into 3 age groups: 60-70, 70-80 and 80-90. Subjects were randomly selected from noninstitutionalisedpopulation (with no claims of representativeness). Two instruments were used: aquestionnaire including socio-demographic and biological data and Beck Depression Inventory. Subjectswere also measured and weighted and their BMI (Body Mass Index) was determined. For efficiency, wehave considered both score types for Beck Inventory. Data was analysed with SPSS 13.Results: Sample’s mean age was 70.95 years, respectively 70.6 years for women and 71.5 years for men.BMI evaluation distributed 70% of the subjects in Overweight and Obese 1st degree classes, womenrepresenting the majority in these groups. On ages, 60% of the subjects between 60-70 de years wereoverweighted. Each of the 60-70 and 70-80 years age groups rated 40% in the 1st degree Obesity class.Using Pearson's correlation analysis we found significant correlations. According to Beck first scoring,women with minor depression were three times more numerous than men. Furthermore, subjects mildlydepressed were only women. (r=-0,543; p < 0.01) Pondering the second scoring type, all men subjectssituated in normal depression’ limits and 25% of women suffered from mild depression. Female genderemerged again as risk factor for depression. Younger subjects (60-70 years), were more confident andoptimistic about their future and self-rated positively (low or null scores at B and D items). Furthermore,90% of those subjects situated among the ones with normal scores, regardless the scoring type.Depression scores increased with subjects’ age (r=0,602; p < 0.01). Subjects’ relationship with theirfamily, especially children, influenced depression, its level proportionally increasing with thedissatisfaction degree experienced in those relations. Family constitutes the main emotional support of oldpeople. In our sample, economical level did not institute as key-factor for the satisfaction level ofinterfamilial ties or for depression.Conclusions: Depression level increased directly with subject’s age, regardless the scoring method.Marital status influences significantly subjects’ general mental state, depression rate being higher atsubjects who have experienced stressful life events (partner’s death, divorce). Depression rate wasn’tinfluenced by socio-economic circumstances, being rather determined by the stress generating events insubject’s life.

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