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Determinants of depression in Indian tribal adults: Evidence from the Longitudinal Ageing Study in India Wave-I survey.

BACKGROUND OBJECTIVES: The tribal populations are vulnerable to mental health issues owing to various reasons. However, limited research has been conducted to assess depression and related determinants among tribal adults aged ≥45 yr (45 years and older). The present study aimed to assess the prevalence and sociodemographic and health determinants of depressive symptoms among the scheduled tribe (ST) population aged ≥45 yr in India.

METHODS: The present study analyzed the Wave I data of the Longitudinal Ageing Study in India conducted between April 2017 to December 2018. The outcome variables in the present study were self-reported depressive symptoms. Two internationally recognised tools, the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D) and Composite International Diagnostic Interview-Short Form (CIDI-SF), were used to obtain the data, however, only the CES-D data are utilized in this study. The present study focused on 12,215 ST individuals aged ≥45 yr from whom information about depressive symptoms was collected and analyzed.

RESULTS: Nearly 25 per cent ST population aged 45 yr or older experienced depressive symptoms. The likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms among the ST population aged ≥45 yr was negatively associated with 10 or more years of education and living with children and others and positively associated with experiencing multiple morbidity conditions.

INTERPRETATION CONCLUSIONS: Given the substantial burden of depression among the adult ST population, the present study lays emphasis on raising the awareness about depressive symptoms and strengthen the availability of mental health services among the ST community through intensive campaigns and engagement of ST individuals along with other key stakeholders. Higher education, living with spouse and children and a physically active lifestyle can play a crucial role in limiting depressive symptoms among the tribal adults (≥45 yr). It is paramount to regularly screen depressive symptoms and conduct more microlevel studies to evaluate socioeconomic and health determinants of depressive symptoms among ST communities living in different geographic regions.

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