Prevalence and factors associated with depression among older adults in the case of a low-income country, Ethiopia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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BMC Psychiatry


Background: Depression is among the common mental health problems in late-life and an important public health problem. Studies from both middle- and high-income countries have shown that depression is more common among older people than in adolescents. Many older people with depression are overlooked, and fewer efforts are made to mitigate their suffering. Despite depression being a major public health problem among older adults, its overall magnitude, and its main predictors were not determined for the development of appropriate measures. Hence, the objective of this study was, therefore, to estimate the overall prevalence of depression and identify its predictors among older adults in Ethiopia. Methods: Available articles were searched by means of different databases using the PRISMA guideline. The quality of the included studies was assessed using a JBI quality appraisal tool. STATA version 14.0 (STATA Corporation, College Station, Texas, USA) statistical software was used to analyze the eligible studies. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses were performed. Cochran’s Q and the I2 test were used to assess heterogeneity. The presence of publication bias was evaluated by using Egger’s test and visual inspection of the symmetry in funnel plots. Result: In this meta-analysis, we included 11 articles that assessed 6521 older adults. The overall prevalence of depression among older adults in Ethiopia was 41.85 (33.52, 50.18). The finding was higher in the Oromia region with a prevalence of 48.07% (95% CI: 35.62, 60.51). The finding also demonstrated that being female (AOR = 1.76, 95% CI: 1.17, 2.63), no formal education (AOR = 1.82, 95% CI: 1.03, 3.19), with chronic diseases (AOR = 2.46, 95% CI: 1.00-6.06), and no social support (AOR = 2.01, 95% CI: 1.06, 3.83) were found to be independent predictors of depression in older Ethiopian adults. Conclusion: Our systematic review and meta-analysis showed that almost two out of five older adults had depression. Female sex, no formal education, having chronic diseases, and no social support were the independent predictors of depression among older adults in Ethiopia. The study emphasizes that depression among older adults in Ethiopia calls for appropriate screening and interventions to reduce the occurrence and its overwhelming consequences.

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