Evaluation of depressive symptoms in mid-aged women: report of a multicenter South American study

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To evaluate depressive symptoms and related factors among mid-aged women using the 10-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CESD-10).


This was a cross-sectional multicenter study in which women aged 40 to 65 from various South American countries were surveyed with the CESD-10 and a general questionnaire containing personal and partner data.


In all, 864 women were interviewed from Colombia (Afro-Colombian, n = 215), Ecuador (Mestizo, n = 202), Perú (Quechua at high altitude, n = 231), and Paraguay (Mestizo, n = 216). Mean age of the whole sample was 49.1 ± 6.0 years. Although the rate of postmenopausal status was similar among studied sites, differences were observed in relation to age, parity, hormone therapy use, hot flush rate, sedentary lifestyle, chronic medical conditions, habits, and partner aspects. Median total CESD-10 score for all sites was 7.0, with a 36.0% (n = 311) having scores equal to 10 or more (suggestive of depressed mood). Higher scores were observed for Afro-Colombian and Quechua women, and also for postmenopausal and perimenopausal ones. Multivariate linear regression analysis found that depressed mood (higher CESD-10 total scores) was significantly associated with ethnicity (Afro-Colombian), hot flush severity, hormone therapy use, sedentary lifestyle, postmenopause, perceived unhealthy status, and lower education. Higher monthly coital frequency and having a healthy partner without premature ejaculation was related to lower scores, hence less depressed mood.


In this mid-aged female South American sample, depressive symptoms correlated to menopausal status and related aspects, ethnicity, and personal and partner issues. All these features require further research.

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