OBJECTIVES: There is controversial evidence concerning the variables favoring depression in community-dwelling elderly individuals. This study mainly investigates the impact of lifestyle, residential environment, cognitive efficiency and social desirability in predicting self-assessed depressive signs in late adult span.
METHOD: One hundred forty-nine elders were recruited in Northern Italy and Sardinia - an Italian island characterized by the longevity of people living in the inner areas. Participants were presented a battery of questionnaires assessing cognitive efficiency and self-referent measures of depression, metacognition and social desirability.
RESULTS: A hierarchical regression analysis showed that residential environment was the most effective predictor of depressive symptoms, along with gardening and spending time for hobbies. In contrast, social desirability and metacognitive scores played a minor role in predicting mental health. An analysis of variance showed that Sardinian elders showed fewer signs of depression than age-matched elders residing in Northern Italy.
CONCLUSION: The Sardinian residential environment is a strong predictor of preserved mental health in late adulthood. In contrast, self-rated metacognitive efficiency and social desirability play a very marginal role in predicting depression among the elderly.
- Aged, 80 and over
- Human Development/physiology
- Life Style/ethnology
- Residence Characteristics
- Self Efficacy
- Social Desirability