Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Ande Nesmith, Ph. D., LISW


Social Work


According to the US Department of Commerce estimates, the older adult population will more than double by 2050, to 80 million (US Department of Commerce, 1995). Depression is very common among the older generation with 6.5 million diagnosed cases out of 35 million individuals aged 65 and above (NAMI, n.d). Many of these older adults with depression suffer from stigmas, both internal and external. The objective of this systematic literature review was to synthesize the information available on stigma related to older adults with depression. The databases SocINDEX, Social Work Abstracts, Pubmed, and were systematically searched (2010 to date). The search terms included older adult, depression, stigma, perception, medications, counseling, social support and therapy. Studies were screened according to pre-defined inclusion criteria. Criteria included articles on older adults with depression and related perceptions. Researcher chose to use studies that were both qualitative and quantitative, and both cross-sectional and longitudinal. Research was focused on the population sample of both men and women who were identified as older adults. This research found stigma (both public and private) to affect older adults with depression. Further findings were an under-diagnosis of depression, a low reporting of symptoms and a belief that depression is a normal part of aging. Future research is needed into stigmas and what causes them as well as into stigmas that plague older adults living in facilities. Also, more education is needed for those who work with older adults. The results of this study form the basis for a better understanding of the effect stigma has on older adults with depression.

Included in

Social Work Commons