Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Clin Psychiatry. 1997 Aug;58(8):355-60.

The effect of gender and age at onset of depression on mortality.

Author information

  • 1Clinical Neuroscience Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md 20892-4405, USA.



Depression has a marked negative impact on geriatric patient mortality and morbidity. The risk factors and exact reasons for these effects are not well understood.


Seeking to better define the factors, we retrospectively analyzed the effects of gender and age at onset of affective disorder in a naturalistic study of 192 geriatric patients consecutively admitted to a large midwestern tertiary care center between 1980 and 1987 for the treatment of unipolar depression.


After controlling for age at index admission, patients with an onset of depression before age 40 suffered significantly (p < .05) less mortality in follow-up than those with onset after age 40. When effects of gender are examined, the effects of age at onset are most profound in women, with a threefold increase in the rate of death in the cohort with age at onset of depression after 70 years when compared to those with onset before age 40.


These results and those of others suggest that depressed elderly women with no previous history of affective disorder are at a markedly increased risk compared with elderly women with a history of affective illness for morbidity and mortality and that a significant proportion of elderly depressed patients are admitted to a psychiatric hospital for a depression that is secondary to serious medical illness.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
    Loading ...
    Support Center