NEW YORK, June 27 (Praxis Press) Studies on whether depressive symptoms are associated with mortality in the elderly have yielded contradictory findings. To address these discrepancies, Schulz and colleagues studied a population-based sample of 5201 men and women aged 65 years and older (see paper). They examined depressive symptoms and four categories of covariates at baseline, with the primary outcome measure being mortality after six years. Of the 5201 participants, 984 (18.9%) died within 6 years. Participants with high baseline depressive symptoms showed a higher mortality rate (23.9%) compared to those with low baseline depression scores (17.7%). The researchers suggest that motivational depletion may be a key underlying mechanism for this effect. Depressive symptoms are an independent risk factor for mortality in community-residing older adults.

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!