Minor and major depression and the risk of death in older persons

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How depression and mortality are associated in older community-dwelling populations has yet to be discovered. This study established the role of both major and minor depression in mortality and assessed the function of confounding and explanatory variables in the relationship. A cohort of 3056 Dutch men and women aged 55 to 85 years were followed for 4 years. DSM-III criteria were used to define major depression according to the Diagnostic Interview Schedule. Minor depression was defined as clinically relevant (a Center for Epidemiologie Studies Depression score of ≥ 16) without fulfilling diagnostic criteria for major depression. After accounting for sociodemographic and health status confounders, men with major depression had a risk of death that was 1.80 times higher (95% CI, 1.35 to 2.39) than that in nondepressed men during follow-up. The risk of mortality was not significantly increased in women with minor depression. Gender did not affect the higher association of major depression with mortality risk (95% CI, 1.09 to 3.10) when sociodemographics and health status had been adjusted for. The extra risk of mortality associated with depression was accounted for only in small part by health behviors such as smoking and physical inactivity. Minor depression in older men and major depression in both older men and women increase the risk of dying even after sociodemographics, health status, and health behaviors have been taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalPrimary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1999

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