The emergence of depressive symptoms in late life

The importance of declining health and increasing disability

Gary J. Kennedy, Howard R. Kelman, Cynthia Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

216 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite considerable progress in the epidemiology of late life depressive disorders, the determinants and course of late life depressive symptoms remain unclear. The apparent reciprocal relationship between depression and disability, a consistent finding in cross-sectional studies further confounds efforts to estimate the importance of depressive symptoms in the elderly. In a longitudinal study of 1457 aged community residents who completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale at baseline and 24 months later, a significant level of depressive symptoms emerged in 163 respondents (11%), while 1080 (74%) remained symptom free. Unlike other studies, we found that the number of medical conditions, social support, life events, and demographic characteristics contributed little to distinguish those with emerging symptoms from those who remained symptom free. However, increasing disability and declining health preceded the emergence of depressive symptoms and accounted for seventy percent of the variance explained by discriminant analysis. These findings have etiologic implications for both the course and determinants of depression in late life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-104
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Community Health
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1990

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disability
Depression
Health
health
determinants
discriminant analysis
epidemiology
cross-sectional study
social support
longitudinal study
resident
event
Discriminant Analysis
community
Depressive Disorder
Social Support
Longitudinal Studies
Epidemiologic Studies
Epidemiology
Cross-Sectional Studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

The emergence of depressive symptoms in late life : The importance of declining health and increasing disability. / Kennedy, Gary J.; Kelman, Howard R.; Thomas, Cynthia.

In: Journal of Community Health, Vol. 15, No. 2, 04.1990, p. 93-104.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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