Depression attributes among white non-Hispanic and Mexican-origin older men

Ester Carolina Apesoa-Varano, Judith C. Barker, Jurgen Unutzer, W Ladson Hinton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Depression is associated with poor quality of life, higher healthcare costs, and suicide. Older, especially minority, men suffer high rates of depression under-treatment. Illness attributes may influence depression under-treatment by shaping help-seeking and physician recognition in older and minority men. Improved understanding of depression attributes may help to close gaps in care for older men. The study aims are to describe the range and most frequent attributes of depression in a diverse sample of older men and to describe ethnic similarities and differences in depression attributes between white non-Hispanic and Mexican-origin older men. Methods: In this qualitative study of white non-Hispanic and Mexican-origin older men who were recruited from outpatient primary care clinics in central California, 77 (47 white non-Hispanic and 30 Mexican-origin) men aged 60 and older who were identified as depressed and/or receiving depression treatment in the past year completed in-depth interviews covering their experiences of depression. Transcribed interviews were analyzed per established descriptive qualitative techniques. Results: Twenty-one depression attributes were identified and 9 were present in at least 17% of the interviews. Men often attributed their depression to stressors such as grief/loss and spousal conflicts, feelings of moral failure, and poor health. Although there were similarities in depression attributes between the groups, we found several differences in the frequency of certain attributes. Conclusion: Similarities and differences in depression attributes between Mexican-origin and white non-Hispanic older men suggest the confluence of various sociocultural factors. Awareness of the variety of ways that older men understand depression can help clinicians identify and engage them in depression treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)960-969
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2015


  • Attributes
  • Depression
  • Mexican-origin
  • Older men
  • Qualitative
  • White non-Hispanic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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