Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The course of depression in the elderly: a longitudinal community-based study in Australia

  • A. S. HENDERSON (a1), A. E. KORTEN (a1), P. A. JACOMB (a1), A. J. MACKINNON (a1), A. F. JORM (a1), H. CHRISTENSEN (a1) and B. RODGERS (a1)...
    • Published online: 01 January 1997

Background. We report the outcome of depressive states after 3-4 years in a community sample of the elderly.

Methods. A sample of 1045 persons aged 70+ years in 1990–1 was re-interviewed after 3·6 years.

Results. Mortality (21·7%) and refusal or non-availability (10·4%) were higher in those who initially had had a diagnosis or symptoms of depression. Of those with an ICD-10 depressive episode in 1990–1, 13% retained that diagnosis. Of those who were not depressed initially only 2·5% had become cases. Depression was unrelated to age or apolipoprotein E genotype. The best predictors of the number of depressive symptoms at follow-up was the number at Wave 1, followed by deterioration in health and in activities of daily living, high neuroticism, poor current health, poor social support, low current activity levels and high service use. Depressive symptoms at Wave 1 did not predict subsequent cognitive decline or dementia.

Conclusions. Non-random sample attrition is unavoidable. ICD-10 criteria yield more cases than other systems, while continuous measures of symptoms confer analytical advantages. Risk factors for depressive states in the elderly have been further identified. The prognosis for these states is favourable. At the community level, depressive symptoms do not seem to predict cognitive decline, as they do in referred series.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 92 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 395 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.