Depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment and functional impairment in a rural elderly population in India: A Hindi version of the geriatric depression scale (GDS-H)

Mary Ganguli, Sanjay Dube, Janet M. Johnston, Rajesh Pandav, Vijay Chandra, Hiroko H. Dodge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective. To measure depressive symptomatology in a largely illiterate elderly population in India, using a new Hindi version of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-H), and to examine its distribution and associations with age, gender, literacy, cognitive impairment and functional impairment. Design. A Hindi version of the Geriatric Depression Scale was developed and administered to participants along with measures of demographic characteristics, cognitive functioning and functional ability. Setting. The rural community of Ballabgarh in northern India. Participants. A community sample of 1554 mostly illiterate Hindi-speaking residents of Ballabgarh aged 55+. Measures. The Hindi version of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-H); the Hindi Mental State Exam (HMSE); the Everyday Abilities Scale for India (EASI); age, gender and literacy. Results. The GDS-H had high internal consistency and a factor structure comparable to the original English language version. The overall distribution of scores was higher than reported from other populations. Greater numbers of depressive symptoms, as measured by higher scores on the GDS-H, were associated with older age and illiteracy. Among the illiterate, there was no gender difference while among the literate, higher GDS-H scores were found among women. Cognitive impairment and functional disability were independently associated with higher scores on the GDS-H after adjustment for age, gender and literacy. Conclusion. A reliable and valid Hindi version of the GDS has been developed. Depressive symptoms as measured by the GDS-H were prominent in this elderly illiterate northern Indian population and strongly associated with both cognitive and functional impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-820
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1999



  • Activities of daily living (ADL)
  • Ageing
  • Community studies
  • Developing countries
  • Epidemiology
  • Everyday Abilities Scale for India (EASI)
  • Hindi Mental State Exam (HMSE)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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