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Prevalence of Depression among Elderly Women in India: An Intersectional Analysis of the Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI), 2017-2018


Prashansa Dash, Manas Ranjan Behera, Paramjot Panda* and Trupti Mishra

Epidemiological transition in India shows a shift in disease burden from youth to the elderly. As Life Expectancy increases, a greater burden is placed on the state, society, and families in India. Mental health disorders are insidious, debilitating Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) that afflict people, their families, and generations down the line. Globally, depression is the leading cause of mental health-related disability. It is estimated that mental illness contributes to 4.7% of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in India. It is predicted that by 2026, the elderly's sex ratio will increase to 1,060 feminizing ageing. Research has shown that elderly women in developed countries like the United States are more prone to depression. Chronic morbidities are more common in women than in men, and they may suffer from poor vision, depression, impaired physical performance, and elder abuse. Mostly widowed, economically dependent, lacking proper food and clothing, fearing the future, and lacking proper care, they have difficulty coping with these health problems. There are surprisingly few studies on elderly female depression. Therefore we want to hypothesize the prevalence of depression among women in different regions and demographic groups in India, and what factors may contribute to these differences. Using intersectional analysis with the data from Wave 1 (2017-2018) of the (Longitudinal Ageing Study in India) LASI (N=16,737) we were able to explore the intersecting patterns between different variables and how people are positioned simultaneously and position themselves in different multiple categories based on the type of place of residence, age and level of education. Through the study we further aim to determine the prevalence of depression among elderly female in the age group of 60 in different states using the Chloropleth map. The findings of the study highlight the significance of the place of residence in the development of depression among elderly women, with the rural area being associated with a higher prevalence of depression compared to urban area. When compared to people with higher literacy, those with low literacy were significantly associated with depression. State-wise, there is a huge difference between the prevalence of elderly women depression in rural and urban areas. The study highlights the vulnerability of elderly women to depression. It is possible for the government to develop programs that address the needs of elderly women, both in urban and rural areas, to reduce depression. Multi-factor approaches to mental health, which consider age, literacy, and location, are essential. Programs targeting specific populations can be developed to address depression's root causes.

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Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research The Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research is a bi-monthly multidisciplinary medical journal.
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