Demographic Correlates of Late-life Depression in the Philippines: Exploring Gender Differences

by Sanny Boy Domingo Afable (2021)


Late-life depression is a major public health concern, but it remains understudied in the Philippines. Using the baseline data of the 2018 Longitudinal Study of Ageing and Health in the Philippines, the main objective of this study was to explore the demographic correlates of depressive symptomatology in older Filipinos, as measured through the shortened version of the Center for Epidemiological Studies – Depression (CES-D) Scale, while investigating possible gender differences. First, results of confirmatory factor analysis found that men and women had the same multidimensional factor structure, but depression chiefly manifests in terms of somatic symptoms in men while the affective dimension is more prominent in women. Second, significant variation in the severity of depressive symptoms was found by gender, age, marital status and living arrangement, education, urban/rural, socioeconomic status, and work status. Furthermore, results of structural equation modeling highlight gender differences in the significant correlates of depression, particularly intergenerational exchanges, which reflect men and women’s role identities. The results of item response analysis also supported the utility of the CES-D Scale in assessing depressive symptoms in older Filipinos. Aside from their policy implications, the findings of this study can inform future validation of the CES-D Scale and similar instruments and add to the dearth of knowledge on the mental health of the Philippines’ increasingly ageing population.