Age-related subtypes of late life depression and mortality: A prospective clinical cohort study

Astrid Lugtenburg*, Marij Zuidersma, Nathaly Rius Ottenheim, Didi Rhebergen, Richard C Oude Voshaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Late Life Depression (LLD) is associated with increased mortality rates, but it remains unclear which depressed patients are at increased risk. This study examined the mortality risk of previously identified subgroups of depressed older patients based on age-related clinical features (the presence of physical and cognitive frailty).

METHODS: A six-year follow-up of a clinical cohort study including 375 depressed older patients and 132 non-depressed persons (NESDO). Depressed patients were diagnosed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) according to DSM-IV criteria and classified by latent profile analysis on depressive symptom severity, cognitive domains and physical frailty. We estimated the hazard rate of mortality for the four depressed subgroups compared to non-depressed persons by applying Cox-regression analyses. Models were adjusted for age, sex and education as confounders and for explanatory variables per pathway in separate models: somatic burden, lifestyle characteristics, vascular burden or inflammation markers.

RESULTS: A total of 61/375 (16.3%) depressed patients and 8/132 (6.1%) non-depressed persons died during the 6-year follow-up. Two of the four subgroups (n = 186/375 (50%) of the depressed sample) had a higher hazard rate (HR) for mortality compared to non-depressed participants, that is, frail-depressed patients (HR = 5.25, [95%-CI: 2.13-13.0]) and pure mild depressed patients (HR = 3.32 [95%-CI: 1.46-7.58]) adjusted for confounders. Adding possible underlying pathways did not explain these associations.

CONCLUSIONS: Age-related features (the presence of physical and cognitive frailty) contribute to the increased mortality risk in late-life depression. Future studies in depressed older patients should study the additional value of a clinical geriatric assessment and integrated treatment aimed to at reduce frailty and ameliorate their mortality risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere6064
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2024


  • Humans
  • Aged
  • Depression/epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Frailty/epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Inflammation
  • Frail Elderly/psychology

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