Prevalence and factors associated with depressive symptoms in Malay women.Women Health. 2009 Dec; 49(8):573-91.WH
Due to a dearth of research on depressive symptoms in Malaysia, particularly in Malay women, a community study was conducted to examine the prevalence and factors associated with current depressive symptoms in rural and urban Malay women with low socioeconomic status.
Four hundred eighty-seven women (N rural = 242, N urban = 245) were interviewed. Information on socio-demographic variables, potential risk factors (family history of mental health problems, lifetime major depressive symptoms, and current life stressors), and current depressive symptoms (measured by the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, CES-D) was collected.
The prevalence of current depressive symptoms (CES-D scores > or = 16) reported was 34.5%, while the prevalence of lifetime major depressive symptoms was 27.5%. A significantly higher rate of current depressive symptoms was observed in urban women compared to rural women, chi(2) (1, N = 487) = 3.99, p < .05. However, no significant difference was found in the two groups of women in the prevalence of lifetime major depressive symptoms. The results of the multiple hierarchical regression analysis indicated that three potential factors (family history of mental health problems, lifetime major depressive symptoms, and current life stressors) were positively associated with current depressive symptoms, accounting for 17.8% of the variance, over and above the socio-demographic variables.
The prevalence of depressive symptoms reported in the study was comparable to past studies. Among the factors associated with current depressive symptoms, the single most important was lifetime major depressive symptoms, followed by current life stressors, and family history of mental health problems. Among the socio-demographic variables used, perceived health status was the most important. The factors associated with depressive symptoms found in this study are consistent with past findings in the West, implying the universality of the phenomenon and common factors related to depressive symptoms in women.