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J Affect Disord. 2015 Jan 1;170:196-202. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2014.08.032. Epub 2014 Aug 30.

Depression in later life: a more somatic presentation?

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, St. Antoniusziekenhuis, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Department of Psychiatry, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands. Electronic address: j.m.hegeman@lumc.nl.
2
Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Psychiatry, EMGO Institute of Health and Care Research, VU Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
4
Department of Old Age Psychiatry, Parnassia, Den Haag, The Netherlands.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Depression later in life may have a more somatic presentation compared with depression earlier in life due to chronic somatic disease and increasing age. This study examines the influence of the presence of chronic somatic diseases and increasing age on symptom dimensions of late-life depression.

METHODS:

Baseline data of 429 depressed and non-depressed older persons (aged 60-93 years) in the Netherlands Study of Depression in Old Age were used, including symptom dimension scores as assessed with the mood, somatic and motivation subscales of the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self Report (IDS-SR). Linear regression was performed to investigate the effect of chronic somatic diseases and age on the IDS-SR subscale scores.

RESULTS:

In depressed older persons a higher somatic disease burden was associated with higher scores on the mood subscale (B = 2.02, p = 0.001), whereas higher age was associated with lower scores on the mood (B = -2.30, p < 0.001) and motivation (B = -1.01, p = 0.006) subscales. In depressed compared with non-depressed persons, a higher somatic disease burden showed no different association with higher scores on the somatic subscale (F(1,12) = 9.2; p = 0.003; partial η(2)=0.022).

LIMITATIONS:

Because the IDS-SR subscales are specific for old age, it was not feasible to include persons aged < 60 years to investigate differences between earlier and later life.

CONCLUSIONS:

It seems that neither higher somatic disease burden nor higher age contributes to more severe somatic symptoms in late-life depression. In older old persons aged ≥ 70 years, late-life depression may not be adequately recognized because they may show less mood and motivational symptoms compared with younger old persons.

KEYWORDS:

Age; Depression; Somatic disease burden

PMID:
25254617
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2014.08.032
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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