Depression and associated factors among geriatric population in Moshi district council, Northern Tanzania

Diana J. Adams, Tunu Ndanzi, Aminatha P. Rweyunga, Johnston George, Lisbeth Mhando, James S. NgochoORCID Icon & Innocent B. Mboya.
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Depression in the elderly population has been identified as a significant public health problem associated with adverse outcomes such as decreased quality of life, cognitive decline, and increased rates of suicide. We aimed to determine the prevalence and factors associated with depressive symptoms among geriatric population in Moshi district council, northern Tanzania.


This community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in Moshi rural district, northern Tanzania, between June and July 2019. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to recruit 304 elders aged 60 or more years. We used geriatric depression scale (GDS-15) to assess depression. Generalized linear model with Poisson family and log link function was used to estimate prevalence ratio (PR) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals for factors associated with geriatric depressive symptoms.


A total of 304 participants were enrolled, the median age (interquartile range) 67 (62-75.5 years), and about half (51%) were females. The prevalence of geriatric depressive symptoms was 44.4%. Elders with a self-reported history of cognitive impairment had higher prevalence of depressive symptoms (PR = 1.66, 95%CI 1.16, 2.38) while elders with intermediate (PR = 0.56, 95%CI 0.38, 0.82) and strong social support (PR = 0.27, 95%CI 0.17, 0.44) were less likely to have depressive symptoms compared to those with no available social support.


Nearly one in every two elders had geriatric depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms were associated with self-reported history of cognitive impairment and availability of social support. We recommend community screening, awareness creation, and social support interventions for early identification and management of depressive symptoms in this population.