OBJECTIVE: The authors assessed the prevalence of major depression (DSM-
III-R) among Parkinson's disease patients and compared this rate with that
of matched physically disabled subjects. METHOD: The 30-item General Health
Questionnaire and measures of physical disability were completed by all
patients in Dunedin, New Zealand, identified as having Parkinson's disease.
Patients scoring over 5 on the General Health Questionnaire were
interviewed with the Structured Clinical Interview for
DSM-III-R--Non-Patient Version. Each patient living in the community was
matched for age, sex, and level of physical disability with a comparison
subject who did not have a neurological condition. RESULTS: Of the 73
subjects with Parkinson's disease who agreed to participate and were judged
not to be demented, 34.2% scored higher than 5 on the 30-item General
Health Questionnaire, but only 2.7% met the criteria for major depression.
No difference from the comparison group was found. CONCLUSIONS: The
prevalence of major depression in patients with Parkinson's disease may be
no greater than in age- and sex-matched physically disabled persons.