Profile of mental disorders among the elderly Unite Arab Emirates population: Sociodemographic correlates

Rafia Ghubash, Omer El-Rufaie, Taofik Zoubeidi, Qasim M. Al-Shboul, Sufyan M. Sabri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives. To investigate the prevalence, nature and sociodemographic correlates of mental disorders among the elderly United Arab Emirates (UAE) population. Study subjects and sample. UAE nationals aged 60 years or more, were recruited from within a random sample of house-holds representing the UAE national population, irrespective of the age of individuals in each household. Research Instruments. (i) Geriatric Mental State Interview (GMS-A3): an Arabic version, using the AGECAT for analysis; (ii) A short questionnaire for relevant sociodemographic data. Procedure. Purposely trained, Arabic speaking interviewers visited the targeted sample households to interview study subjects at their homes. Results. The total number of screened subjects was 610: 166 (27.2%) in Al-Ain; 286 (46.9%) in Dubai and 158 (25.9%) in Ras Al-Khaimah. There were 347 (56.9%) male subjects and 263 (43.1%) female subjects. The mean age of the interviewed subjects was 68.6 (SD 8.3). The commonest diagnostic entities at the AGECAT syndrome case level were depression (20.2%), anxiety (5.6%), hypochondriasis (4.4%) and organic, mostly cognitive impairment with or without dementia (3.6%). Organic syndrome caseness, as an independent entity, showed significant correlation only to older age, while the rest of the mental disorders showed significant correlation with female gender, insufficient income and being single, separated, divorced or widowed. Conclusion. The GMS-AGECAT package proved to be a useful tool for psychiatric assessment among the elderly in this Arabian culture. The prevalence rates of mental disorders among the elderly UAE population were, more or less, within the same range reported by other comparable worldwide studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-351
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


  • Geriatric mental state interview (GMS-A3)
  • Mental disorders
  • Old age
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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