Depression in Europe. Geographical distribution among older people

J. R.M. Copeland*, A. T.F. 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.M. Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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 ≥ 65 in nine European centres. Method. The GMS-AGECAT package. Results. Differences in prevalence are apparent, 8.8% (Iceland) to 23.6% (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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-321
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue numberAPR.
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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