Introduction The elderly population in Brazil had grown significantly in recent decades. Brazilian studies involving adults report a high prevalence of common mental disorders (CMDs). The aim of the present study was to analyse the prevalence of CMDs (assessed using the SRQ-20) and associations with socio-demographic variables, health-related behaviour and illness among elderly individuals.
Methods A population-based cross-sectional study was carried out with two-stage conglomerate sampling, using data from a home survey carried out in Campinas, SP, Brazil in 2008/2009. Prevalence values were estimated and prevalence ratios were calculated and adjusted using Poisson regression. Data analysis considered the weights related to the sampling design.
Results The data from 1518 individuals aged 60 years or more were analysed. The prevalence of CMDs was 15.5% (12.9%–18.5%). Significantly higher prevalence values were found among women, older individuals, those with no occupation, sedentary individuals, those who consumed fruit and vegetables less than four times a week and those with a poorer self-assessment of health. The prevalence value increased significantly with the increase in reported illnesses. All diseases investigated were associated to CMDs, with the exception of asthma/emphysema. The conditions with the strongest associations to CMDs were rheumatism (PR=2.22; 1.73–2.83) and tendonitis (PR=2.22; 1.57–3.21).
Conclusion The findings of the present study contribute information for guiding the planning of interventions directed at health promotion for the elderly.
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