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Exploring the effect of depression on physical disability: Longitudinal evidence from the established populations for epidemiologic studies of the elderly

Author

Listed:
  • Penninx, B.W.J.H.
  • Leveille, S.
  • Ferrucci, L.
  • Van Eijk, J.T.M.
  • Guralnik, J.M.

Abstract

Objectives. This study examined the effect of depression on the incidence of physical disability and the role of confounding and explanatory variables in this relationship. Methods. A cohort of 6247 subjects 65 years and older who were initially free of disability was followed up for 6 years. Baseline depression was assessed by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Disability in mobility and disability in activities of daily living were measured annually. Results. Compared with the 5751 nondepressed subjects, the 496 depressed subjects had a relative risk (95% confidence interval) of 1.67 (1.44, 1.95) and 1.73 (1.54, 1.94) for incidence disability in activities of daily living and mobility, respectively. Adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics and baseline chronic conditions reduced the risks to 1.39 (1.18, 1.63) and 1.45 (1.29, 1.93), respectively. Less physical activity and fewer social contacts among depressed persons further explained part of their increased disability risk. Conclusions. Depression in older persons may increase the risk for incident disability. This excess risk is partly explained by depressed persons' decreased physical activity and social interaction. The role of other factors (e.g., biological mechanisms) should be examined.

Suggested Citation

  • Penninx, B.W.J.H. & Leveille, S. & Ferrucci, L. & Van Eijk, J.T.M. & Guralnik, J.M., 1999. "Exploring the effect of depression on physical disability: Longitudinal evidence from the established populations for epidemiologic studies of the elderly," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 89(9), pages 1346-1352.
  • Handle: RePEc:aph:ajpbhl:1999:89:9:1346-1352_2
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    Cited by:

    1. Marcel Raab & Anette Fasang & Moritz Hess, 2018. "Pathways to death: The co-occurrence of physical and mental health in the last years of life," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 38(53), pages 1619-1634.
    2. Glenn Ostir & Kenneth Ottenbacher & Linda Fried & Jack Guralnik, 2007. "The Effect of Depressive Symptoms on the Association between Functional Status and Social Participation," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 80(2), pages 379-392, January.
    3. Raab, Marcel & Fasang, Anette Eva & Hess, Moritz, 2018. "Pathways to death: The co-occurrence of physical and mental health in the last years of life," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1619-1634.
    4. Szanton, Sarah L. & Thorpe, Roland J. & Whitfield, Keith, 2010. "Life-course financial strain and health in African-Americans," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 259-265, July.

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