To examine the incidence of psychiatric disorders in the Quebec older adult population.
Data from the Enquěte sur la Santé des Aînés (ESA) study conducted in 2005 to 2008 using a representative sample (n = 2784) of community-dwelling adults aged 65 years and older were used.
The ESA study's results indicate that 12.0% of the respondents met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), Fourth Edition, criteria for depression, mania, anxiety disorders, or benzodiazepine drug dependency at the baseline interview. Our results also indicate that the 12-month rate of incident cases of DSM-IV disorders was 6.2%. The proportion of incident cases was higher for the depression group (3.4%) than for the anxiety disorders group (2.3%). The results showed that the probability to develop an incident psychiatric condition after 1 year of follow-up, compared with the noncases group, varied according to sex (OR 2.18; 95% CI 1.39 to 3.44). Our results also showed that the number of chronic health problems (OR 1.20; 95% CI 1.09 to 1.33) and the change in the number of chronic health problems reported between the baseline and the second interview (OR 1.14; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.30) increased the probability to be an incident case at Time 2. The results indicated that social support did not influence the probability to develop a psychiatric disorder.
These results indicate that sex and physical health status have an impact on the incidence of DSM-IV disorders in the elderly. This finding underscores the need for improved recognition and treatment of psychiatric disorders associated with physical illness in the older population.