Psychological distress among a sample of Iranian older adults

E. Lotfalinezhad 1, Y.A. Momtaz 1 2, M. Foroughan 1, R. Sahaf 1

1 Iranian Research Center on Aging, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran; 2 Malaysian Research Institute on Ageing (MyAgeing), Universiti Putra Malaysia

Introduction. Psychological distress is one of the most important predicting factors of mental health among older adults. Therefore, this study aimed to identify status and associated factors of psychological distress among older adults in Gorgan City. 

Method and material. A cross-sectional design was conducted on a convenience sample of 190 community-dwelling older adults aged 60 years and over in Gorgan, Iran. The Kessler psychological distress (K10) was used to measure psychological distress. Data analysis was conducted using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 22. 

Results. Out of 190 participants around 53% were female. The mean age of the respondents was 69.88 ± 7.58. The prevalence of severe psychological distress was found to be 13.2%. The results of multiple linear regression showed a significant model (F (8,181) = 9.02, p < 0.001), wherein sex, subjective income, and chronic disease were significantly associated with psychological distress. 

Conclusions. The results of this study indicate slightly a high level of psychological distress among older adults, particularly in vulnerable groups including women, the poor, low educated people, and older adults with co-morbidity. Therefore, it is recommended that policy-makers take into account vulnerable older adults when providing comprehensive mental health programs for aged population.

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