Depressive Symptoms and Risk Factors Among Perimenopausal Women

Gloria M. Suau, Ramses Normandía, Rafael Rodríguez, Josefina Romaguera, Lillian Segarra


Background. Several studies indicate that approximately 4.6 % of the Puerto Rican Population has been affected by depression at some time in their life. Perimenopausal women have been one of the most frequently mentioned population in scientific literature prone to develop depression. Sociodemographic factors along with medical history have been hypothesized to be associated with the development of depression. This study has the purpose to know the prevalence of depressive symptoms in a sample of women age 40 to 55 years attending a gynecological outpatient clinic in the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico. We also want to identify sociodemographic risk factors that can predispose these women to develop depressive symptoms. Method. A cross sectional study was done during the months of June 2000 thru December 2000. Female subjects age 40 to 55 selected by availability. The Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (1995 Spanish Version) and a questionnaire were administered to each subject. Results. The overall prevalence of depressive symptoms in this sample of 64 women was 39.1 %. Among the variables considered as possible associated risk factors for the development of depressive symptoms, educational level, prior visit to a mental health professional or a spiritual guide, and prior diagnosis of depression and antidepressant use were of statistical significance. Discussion. A high prevalence of depressive symptoms was found in this sample. As reported in other studies, higher educational level is a protective factor against depression. Contrary of other studies, no association is found between depression and other sociodemographic and medial factors.

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