We aimed to study the relation between sex hormones and depression among elderly women. The study was carried out on 74 volunteered female subjects above 60 years of age. Each subject was asked to fulfill the geriatric depression scale (GDS) questionnaire and further evaluated for clinical depression by a psychiatrist using the DSM IV diagnostic criteria. For statistical analysis, subjects were later divided in two groups, according to the presence of clinical depression. Cognitive functions were assessed with the standardized mini mental test (SMMT). Disability in the activities of daily living was assessed with instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) scale. Plasma levels of estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) were measured with chemiluminescent methods, and plasma levels of androstenedione were measured with radioimmunassay. Among 74 subjects, 34 (39%) had clinical depression. Age, number of years spent in education, SMMT scores, and IADL scores did not differ between the depressive and non-depressive groups. Plasma sex hormone levels were not found to be different between the two groups. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.