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Aging Ment Health. 2008 Sep;12(5):536-47. doi: 10.1080/13607860802343001.

Depression in older nursing home residents: the influence of nursing home environmental stressors, coping, and acceptance of group and individual therapy.

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School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.


Based on in-depth interviews with 65 older nursing home residents, this study examined the residents' own understanding and perceptions of depressive symptoms, causes of their depression, their self-reported coping strategies, and their preferences for acceptable depression interventions. About half (n = 32) of all interviewees stated that they were either feeling depressed or experiencing negative affects. The major themes related to the causes of their depression were loss of independence, freedom and continuity with their past life; feelings of social isolation and loneliness; lack of privacy and frustration at the inconvenience of having a roommate and sharing a bathroom; loss of autonomy due to the institutional regimen and regulations; ambivalence toward cognitively impaired residents; ever-present death and grief; staff turnover and shortage; and stale programming and lack of meaningful in-house activities. Self-reported coping mechanisms included religion and stoicism, a sense of reality, positive attitude and family support. In regard to depression treatment, the interviewees appeared to prefer nursing home programs that reduce their isolation over group or individual psychotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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