Chronic diseases and depression: The modifying role of psychosocial resources

M. Isabella Bisschop*, Didi M.W. Kriegsman, Aartjan T.F. Beekman, Dorly J.H. Deeg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Psychosocial coping resources have been found to protect against depressive symptoms in people with and without chronic diseases. It has not been established, however, whether these resources have the same effects across patients with different diseases. Therefore, the aim of the study was to estimate the direct and buffer effects of psychosocial resources on depression, and to examine whether these effects are different for various chronic diseases. Data were obtained from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. In all, 2288 community-dwelling respondents (age 55-85) were included and followed for a maximum of 6 years. Depressive symptoms (using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale), the presence of seven frequently occurring chronic diseases, social support and personal coping resources, physical functioning and sociodemographic variables were assessed by structured interviews. Generalized estimating equation models were estimated for each disease, social support and personal coping resources. All resources, except social network size, showed a direct effect on depressive symptoms regardless of the presence of chronic diseases. Having a partner, high self-esteem, mastery, self-efficacy and feeling less lonely additionally buffered the negative effect of some, but not all, specific chronic diseases. Unexpectedly, in patients with cardiac disease, none of the psychosocial resources exerted a buffer effect on depressive symptoms. For instrumental and emotional support only direct (unfavorable) effects and no buffer effects could be observed. In conclusion, our study provides evidence that buffer effects of psychosocial resources are different across various chronic diseases. This suggests that interventions to enhance specific resources may ameliorate depressive symptoms in specific chronic patients groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-733
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

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