Women report higher rates of depression and anxiety than men; however, it is uncertain whether this gender difference continues into advanced old age.
78 men and 111 women aged 82–87 years from the Men, Women and Ageing Project completed measures of anxiety (Geriatric Anxiety Inventory), depression (Patient Health Questionnaire; PHQ9), general psychological well-being (Mental Health subscale of SF-36), general health (general health item of SF-36) and cognitive status (Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status; TICS).
Results revealed no significant gender differences on any of the psychological measures, after controlling for cognitive status, general health and education.
These results support the proposition that the female predominance in psychological distress diminishes with increasing age. The congruence between men and women may reflect changes in identity associated with age or the effect of decreased emotional valence of some social roles.