Patterns of mental disorders among the elderly residents of Eastern Baltimore

M. Kramer, P. S. German, J. C. Anthony, M. Von Korff, Elizabeth A Skinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An extensive analysis of prevalence rates of cognitive impairment and other mental morbidities was carried out as part of a five-site national study on the health and mental health of an ambulatory population. This study reports on prevalence rates contrasted by age across the 18 and over population for cognitive impairment and other diagnoses in the Baltimore, Maryland, site of this study. Differences in prevalence rates by age are striking. Eight conditions have rates above 1% among those 64 and younger: phobia (13.8%), alcohol use disorder (6.5%), obsessive compulsive disorder (2.2%), schizophrenia (1.4%), and panic disorder (1.2%). For the older group, 65 to 74 years, five conditions have such prevalence rates: phobic disorder (12.1%), severe congnitive impairment (3.0%), alcohol use disorder (2.1%), obsessive compulsive disorder (2.2%), and dysthymia (1.0%). For the oldest group, those 75 and over, only four conditions have rates of 1% or more. These are: phobic disorders (10.1%), severe cognitive impairment (9.3%), major depression (1.3%), and dysthymia (1.1%). Rates of cognitive impairment increase markedly with age and high rates of this disorder were found among those never married, separated, divorced, or widowed. Implications of these findings for understanding mental morbidity among the elderly and issues for future planning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-245
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1985


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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