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Prevalence of depression in older people in England and Wales: The MRC CFA Study

McDougall, Fiona A.; Kvaal, Kari; Matthews, Fiona E.; Paykel, Eugene; Jones, Peter B.; Dewey, Michael E.; Brayne, Carol


Fiona A. McDougall

Kari Kvaal

Eugene Paykel

Peter B. Jones

Michael E. Dewey

Carol Brayne


Background. Depression in old age is an important public health problem. The aims of this study were to report the prevalence of depression in the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (MRC CFAS), a community-based, cohort. Method. Following screening of 13 004 people aged 65 and over from a population base, a stratified random subsample of 2640 participants received the Geriatric Mental State (GMS) examination and were diagnosed using the Automated Geriatric Examination for Computer-Assisted Taxonomy (AGECAT) algorithm. Results. The prevalence of depression was 8.7% [95% confidence interval (CI) 7.3-10.2], increasing to 9.7% if subjects with concurrent dementia were included. Depression was more common in women (10.4%) than men (6.5%) and was associated with functional disability, co-morbid medical disorder, and social deprivation. Prevalence remained high into old age, but after adjustment for other associated factors, it was lower in the older age groups. Conclusions. The prevalence of depression in the elderly is high and remains high into old age, perhaps due to increased functional disability. © 2007 Cambridge University Press.


McDougall, F. A., Kvaal, K., Matthews, F. E., Paykel, E., Jones, P. B., Dewey, M. E., & Brayne, C. (2007). Prevalence of depression in older people in England and Wales: The MRC CFA Study. Psychological Medicine, 37(12), 1787-1795.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2007
Deposit Date Dec 8, 2023
Journal Psychological Medicine
Print ISSN 0033-2917
Electronic ISSN 1469-8978
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Volume 37
Issue 12
Pages 1787-1795
Public URL