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Am J Psychiatry. 2001 Mar;158(3):416-9.

Depression and self-reported functional status in older primary care patients.

Author information

  • 1Laboratory of Depression and Medical Comorbidity, Program in Geriatrics and Neuropsychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine, NY, USA.



The authors' goal was to examine whether depression is associated with overreporting of functional disability.


The subjects were 304 patients 60 years old or older who were recruited from primary care settings. Measures included examiner ratings of depression diagnosis and medical burden and self-reported and examiner-rated functional assessments. Multiple regression techniques were used to determine the independent association of depression with self-reported function after examiner-rated function was added to the analysis as a covariate.


Depression diagnosis was associated with poorer self-reported role functioning, whether the patient attributed the disability to physical or emotional causes. Depression was not independently associated with poorer self-reported physical functioning.


Clinicians and researchers should recognize that depression can confound the self-reporting and attribution of functional disability.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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