Prevalence and Factors Associated with Comorbid Depression and Anxiety Among Older Adults in South-western Nigeria: A Community-Based Study
Background: Depression and anxiety are common mental disorders that frequently occur in the elderly. When they co-exist, it is known as comorbid depression and anxiety.
Objective: To assess the prevalence and factors associated with comorbid depression and anxiety symptoms among older adults in western Nigeria.
Methods: This is a community-based, cross-sectional descriptive survey conducted among 328 consenting older adults. The Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form (GDS-SF) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) questionnaires were administered to assess depressive and anxiety symptoms. Socio-demographic information was obtained using a separate questionnaire.
Results: The mean age of the participants was 70.1 years (SD = 9.2). Sixty per cent of the respondents were females and 58% were married. The prevalence of comorbid depression and anxiety was 6.0% (2.4% in men and 6.6% in women) and 13% had depression-only while 19.9% had anxiety-only. Socio-demographic factors significantly associated with comorbid depression and anxiety included living alone (p = 0.001) and being not married (p = 0.028). However, only living alone (p = 0.015, OR = 1.79, 95% CI = 1.41- 25.36) independently predicted comorbid depression and anxiety symptoms among older adults.
Conclusion: Although the prevalence rates of “depression only” and “anxiety only” were higher among older adults, comorbid depression and anxiety was also prevalent in later life and living alone is a significant predictor. Therefore, there is a need to increase the recognition and treatment of comorbid depression and anxiety in older adults.
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