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J Affect Disord. 2009 Apr;114(1-3):184-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2008.07.005. Epub 2008 Aug 9.

The association of depression with cardiovascular mortality is partly explained by health status. The FINE Study.

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  • 1Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Depression is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and cardiovascular mortality. We investigated to what extent subjective health status explained the apparent association between depressive symptoms and cardiovascular mortality in older European men.


Data were used from the population-based prospective Finland, Italy and the Netherlands Elderly (FINE) Study. Depressive symptoms were measured with the Zung Self-rating Depression Scale in 909 men, aged 70-90 years, free of CVD and diabetes in 1990. Subjective health status was estimated with a single question on self-rated health and with a standardized questionnaire about activities of daily living. Cardiovascular mortality was determined during ten years of follow-up.


At baseline, poor self-rated health and more disability in activities of daily living were both associated with more depressive symptoms using multiple linear regression analysis. Prospectively men who reported to be unhealthy or with moderate to severe disability had an approximately 2.5 times higher risk of cardiovascular mortality using Cox regression analysis. An increase in depressive symptoms by one standard deviation was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality (HR 1.37; 95% CI 1.21-1.56). A substantial part of this association was explained by self-rated health and disability (proportion explained 0.32; 95% CI 0.09-0.55). However, a significant risk of depressive symptoms on cardiovascular mortality remained (HR 1.25; 95% CI 1.09-1.43) after adjustment for subjective health status.


Health status is based on subjective measures.


In older men, subjective health status explains a considerable part of the association between depression and risk of cardiovascular mortality.

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