TitleDepression Among Older Adults in the United States by Disaggregated Race and Ethnicity.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsHooker, K, Phibbs, S, Irvin, VL, Mendez-Luck, CA, Doan, LN, Li, T, Turner, S, Choun, S
Date Published12/2018

Background and Objectives: As the population becomes increasingly diverse, it is important to understand the prevalence of depression across a racially and ethnically diverse older population. The purpose of this study was to compare rates of depression by age and disaggregated racial and ethnic groups to inform practitioners and target resource allocation to high risk groups.

Research Design and Methods: Data were from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Health Outcomes Survey, Cohorts 15 and 16, a national and annual survey of a racially diverse group of adults aged 65 and older who participate in Medicare Advantage plans (N = 175,956). Depression was operationalized by the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2); we estimated a logistic regression model and adjusted standard errors to account for 403 Medicare Advantage Organizations.

Results: Overall, 10.2% of the sample (n = 17,957) reported a PHQ-2 score of 3 or higher, indicative of a positive screen for depression. After adjusting for covariates, odds of screening positively for depression were higher among participants self-reporting as Mexican (odds ratio [OR] = 1.19), Puerto Rican (OR = 1.46), Cuban (OR = 1.57), another Hispanic/Latino (OR = 1.29), and multiple Hispanic/Latino (OR = 1.84) ethnicities, compared with non-Hispanic whites. Odds were also higher among participants reporting that their race was black/African American (OR = 1.20), Asian Indian (OR = 1.67), Filipino (OR = 1.30), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (OR = 1.82), or two or more races (OR = 1.50), compared with non-Hispanic whites.

Discussion and Implications: Prevalence varied greatly across segments of the population, suggesting that certain racial/ethnic groups are at higher risk than others. These disparities should inform distribution of health care resources; efforts to educate and ameliorate depression should be culturally targeted.

Alternate JournalGerontologist
PubMed ID30561600