July 2001

Stigma makes elderly more likely to drop out of depression treatment

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Older patients with major depression may be more likely to discontinue depression treatment due to perceived stigma than are their younger counterparts. Researchers in White Plains, New York followed 92 outpatients with major depression over the course of three months. Twenty-nine of the patients were 65 years of age or older; 63 were between the ages of 18 and 64. Although a majority in both groups had negative views of people with mental illness, the younger patients unexpectedly perceived more stigma than did the older patients.