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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 1995 Mar;50(2):S119-27.

The relationship between chronic illness and depression in a community of urban black elderly persons.

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Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, USA.


The relationship between depression and chronic illness among the elderly population has often been investigated. However, the impact of individual chronic illnesses while controlling for the impact of various psychosocial factors is still not well understood. This is particularly true among Black elderly persons. In a cross-sectional study, the impact of selected chronic illnesses and psychosocial variables on depression was investigated among 1,022 Black urban elderly persons who reside in New Orleans, Louisiana. Depression was greatest among those with more financial difficulties, more stressful life events, lower self-perceptions, less support from friends, and less instrumental support. Multiple regression analysis determined that depression was greatest among elderly persons who reported kidney, vision, and/or circulation problems. These findings suggest that elderly persons may perceive these three illnesses as more debilitating than other chronic illnesses.

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