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Int Psychogeriatr. 2014 Apr 23:1-9. [Epub ahead of print]

Depressive symptoms are independently associated with recurrent falls in community-dwelling older adults.

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Centre de recherche, Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (CRIUGM), Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Sherbrooke (IUGS), Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM), Montréal, Québec, Canada.



Falls and depression are two major public health problems that affect millions of older people each year. Several factors associated with falls are also related to depressive symptoms such as medical conditions, sleep quality, use of medications, cognitive functioning, and physical capacities. To date, studies that investigated the association between falls and depressive symptoms did not control for all these shared factors. The current study addresses this issue by examining the relationship between falls and depression symptoms after controlling for several confounders.


Eighty-two community-dwelling older adults were enrolled in this study. The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-30) was used to evaluate the presence of depressive symptoms, and the following question was used to assess falls: "Did you fall in the last 12 months, and if so, how many times?"


Univariate analyses indicated that the number of falls was significantly correlated with gender (women), fractures, asthma, physical inactivity, presence of depressive symptoms, complaints about quality of sleep, use of antidepressant drugs, and low functional capacities. Multivariate analyses revealed that depressive symptoms were significantly and independently linked to recurrent falls after controlling for confounders.


Results of the present study highlight the importance of assessing depressive symptoms during a fall risk assessment.


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