What Characterizes Depression in Old Age? Results from the Bruneck Study
received 16 April 2017
revised 30 August 2017
accepted 03 September 2017
26 September 2017 (eFirst)
Introduction Depression in old age is associated with functional disabilities, cognitive impairment, lower self-rated quality of life, and increased mortality. The aim of the study was to reveal the prevalence of depression and to investigate the characteristics of patients treated with antidepressants.
Methods We analyzed data from the Bruneck Study 2010. All participants completed a clinical examination, cognitive screening, the 30-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) (cutoff score of>8 to define relevant depressive symptoms), and the World Health Organization quality of life questionnaire (WHO-QoL). Group differences were calculated using binary logistic regression analysis.
Results Out of 456 participants (mean age of 73.1±8.2 years), 22.1% showed depressive symptoms, and out of these, 30% were taking antidepressants. The depressed group compared to the GDS ≤8 group showed significantly lower WHO-QoL (p<0.001) and Mini Mental State Examination (p=0.015) score. Further, 13% of the latter compared to the GDS>8 group received antidepressants, and these had a lower WHO-QoL score (p<0.033).
Discussion Depressive symptoms are frequent in the elderly population. Our results confirm the negative influence of depressive symptoms on cognition and quality of life. Patients with somatic comorbidities are likely to receive more antidepressant medication.