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Aging Ment Health. 2009 Jan;13(1):118-26. doi: 10.1080/13607860802591062.

Anxious depression among Puerto Rican and African-American older adults.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Living, Hartford, CT, USA. gdiefen@harthosp.org



To determine racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence and impact of anxious depression (i.e. major depressive disorder, MDD, occurring concomitant with generalized anxiety symptoms) among older adults.


Interviews were conducted with 218 Puerto Rican and 206 African American older (age > or =60) urban senior housing residents. Data were collected on diagnostic status, depression severity and psychosocial functioning.


Results indicated a higher prevalence of MDD and anxious depression among Puerto Rican participants. Anxious depression was associated with more severe ratings of distress and suicidality compared with MDD alone, and the impact of depression and anxiety was most pronounced for the Puerto Rican participants. Puerto Rican participants also reported poorer subjective health and more substantial disability; however, these effects were independent of depression or anxiety status.


Anxious depression is common among older ethnic minority adults and the impact of these symptoms differs by race/ethnicity. These results highlight the importance of conducting culturally sensitive assessments of depression and anxiety among older adults.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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