A community study on emotional distress among the elderly in Israel.

The Israel journal of psychiatry and related sciences

PubMedID: 15754520

Shemesh AA, Levav I, Blumstein T, Novikov I. A community study on emotional distress among the elderly in Israel. Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci. 2005;41(3):174-83.
The elderly constitute a group at risk for elevated emotional distress. The Ministry of Health, the Central Bureau of Statistics and other national agencies jointly conducted a survey to investigate the health status of the elderly, including emotional distress and selective determinants.

This paper reports the distribution of the emotional distress mean scores by socio-demographic and health-related variables.

5,055 ethnically diverse elderly residing in the community were interviewed with a questionnaire comprising socio-demographic and health promotion behavior items, in addition to the 12 item-GHQ scale. Univariate and multivariate methods of analyses were applied.

Several variables that were associated with higher mean scores of emotional distress were identified, among them, female gender, living without a partner, and those with chronic medical conditions and impaired life-styles; 38% of the variance was explained by the study variables.

Health planners and clinicians, including mental health consultants, may utilize these findings to develop individual and collective programs of intervention aimed at reducing emotional distress, particularly among the more vulnerable elderly.