International Psychogeriatrics

Guest Editorial

Protection from late life depression

Dan G. Blazera1

a1 Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A. Email: blaze001@mc.duke.edu

The frequency of late life depression is estimated to be low relative to the frequency in young adulthood and middle age, as documented in many community-based epidemiological studies from Western populations. We first reported such a low-frequency in 1980 (though we did not compare the frequency of late life depression with that earlier in life) (Blazer and Williams, 1980). Since that time, many community-based studies have documented this lower frequency (Blazer et al., 1994; Kessler et al., 2003; Hasin et al., 2005). Yet a review of the origins of late life depression at first glance may suggest that older persons are at significant increased risk compared to adults in young adulthood and mid-life (Blazer, 2003; Blazer and Hybels, 2005).

(Online publication September 28 2009)