Author(s): Wilson KC, Chen R, Taylor S, McCracken CF, Copeland JR
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The Townsend index is a measure of social deprivation. It can be applied to postal districts and has been employed in studies examining the ecological associations of mental illness. AIMS: We examine the utility of the Townsend index in identifying older populations with a high prevalence and risk of developing depression. METHOD: The study was carried out in the context of a cohort study of an age- and gender-stratified sample of 5222 community residents aged 65 years and over. Subjects were interviewed at intervals of two years. The relationships between Townsend score and psychiatric diagnoses (in particular, depression) were examined. RESULTS: High Townsend scores were associated with increased prevalence and incidence of depression and prevalence of organic psychiatric illness. CONCLUSIONS: The Townsend index can be used to prioritize psychiatric and primary care resources so as to cater for older populations likely to suffer from depression and organic psychiatric conditions.
This article was published in Br J Psychiatry
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research