Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Depression among the older adult population has been identified as a serious concern for rural older adults. The purpose of this project was threefold: 1) to explore current literature to discover factors associated with depression in older, rural adults; 2) to determine what the literature reveals about the associations between social isolation and depression; and 3) to determine how research studies reviewed impact psychiatric mental health nursing practice. A literature review was completed, based on scholarly articles which have been published within the last five years. The review also included articles considered "classic" in the psychiatric mental health field. A number of factors related to depression in older, rural adults were recognized as significant while completing the literature search. These included but are not Jimjted to, the impact of environmental contexts, barriers to treatment, difficulty in detection of depression, possible future treatment contexts and availability of mental health services for this specific population. A number of researchers have found a positive link to social isolation and the development of depression in the older, rural adult population Delivering effective care to these individuals poses various challenges, including resistance to obtaining services, stigma in regards w mental illness, transportation problems due to physical distances (accessibility) and fewer practitioners in outlying areas (availability). This literature review suggests what mental health nurses can do in order to promote effective care in regards to treatment, prevention and promotion in the older, rural adult population. It also reviews what is currently being clone in regards to prevention, causation, detection and treatment of this illness in the rural population. Recommendations for additional education for patients, families and mental health nurses and research include the determination of: l) best treatment protocols for depression of older adults living in rural communities, 2) best means of delivering care to these individuals, 3) further understanding of each individual's value and belief system in regards to mental health, and 4) identification of the best prevention strategies and promotion of good mental health. Further research into treatment for depression in rural populations is recommended by researchers