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Aging Ment Health. 2002 Aug;6(3):275-81.

Cognitive coping and depressive symptoms in the elderly: a longitudinal study.

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  • 1Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.


The objective of the present longitudinal study was to examine the relationship between cognitive coping strategies and depressive symptoms at old age. At the two and a half year follow-up study, a community sample of 99 people aged 67 years and older filled out a self-report questionnaire comprising the Geriatric Depression Scale, the Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire and a negative life events checklist. Cognitive coping strategies seemed to play an important role in relation to depressive symptoms in late life. Elderly persons with more depressive symptoms reported to use acceptance, rumination and catastrophizing to a significantly higher extent and positive reappraisal to a significantly lower extent than those with lower depression scores. After controlling for negative life events and prior depressive symptoms, acceptance and positive reappraisal retained their significant relationship with current depressive symptoms. It is suggested that intervention programs should pay attention to these aspects by challenging the 'maladaptive' strategies, and by supplying the more 'adaptive' strategies. This could be linked to the well-established cognitive therapies.

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