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Older people coping with low mood: a qualitative study

  • Margaret von Faber (a1), Geertje van der Geest (a1), Gerda M. van der Weele (a2), Jeanet W. Blom (a1), Roos C. van der Mast (a3) (a4), Ria Reis (a1) (a5) (a6) and Jacobijn Gussekloo (a1)...

Abstract

Background:

To gain new insight into support for older people with low mood, the perceptions, strategies, and needs of older people with depressive symptoms were explored.

Methods:

Two in-depth interviews were held with 38 participants (aged ≥77 years) who screened positive for depressive symptoms in general practice. To investigate the influence of the presence of complex health problems, 19 persons with and 19 without complex problems were included. Complex problems were defined as a combination of functional, somatic, psychological or social problems.

Results:

All participants used several cognitive, social or practical coping strategies. Four patterns emerged: mastery, acceptance, ambivalence, and need for support. Most participants felt they could deal with their feelings sufficiently, whereas a few participants with complex problems expressed a need for professional support. Some participants, especially those with complex problems, were ambivalent about possible interventions mainly because they feared putting their fragile balance at risk due to changes instigated by an intervention.

Conclusion:

Most older participants with depressive symptoms perceived their coping strategies to be sufficient. The general practitioners (GPs) can support self-management by talking about the (effectiveness of) personal coping strategies, elaborating on perceptions of risks, providing information, and discussing alternative options with older persons.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: J. Gussekloo, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Postal zone V0-P, Leiden University Medical Center, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, the Netherlands. Phone: +31 (0)71 526 8444; Fax: +31 (0)71 526 8259. Email: J.Gussekloo@lumc.nl.

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Older people coping with low mood: a qualitative study

  • Margaret von Faber (a1), Geertje van der Geest (a1), Gerda M. van der Weele (a2), Jeanet W. Blom (a1), Roos C. van der Mast (a3) (a4), Ria Reis (a1) (a5) (a6) and Jacobijn Gussekloo (a1)...

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