Depressive symptoms in elderly patients predict poor adjustment after somatic events

P de Jonge*, J Ormel, JPJ Slaets, GIJM Kempen, AV Ranchor, CHM van Jaarsveld, W Scaf-Klomp, R Sanderman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The authors tested the hypothesis that elderly subjects with premorbid depressive symptoms are at increased risk of poor adjustment after a somatic event. Methods: The GLAS study contains a baseline assessment and a follow-up of subjects who experienced post-baseline acute myocardial infarction, cancer, congestive heart failure, or fall-related injury of the extremities within 5 years after baseline assessment Follow-up was conducted at 8 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year after the somatic event. Of a baseline sample of 5,279 elderly subjects (57 and older), 1,124 subjects who experienced one of the specified events were contacted, and sufficient follow-up data were obtained from 558 subjects. Authors analyzed the course of self-reported physical, role, and social functioning, and general health and well-being in subjects without baseline limitations. Patients with poor adjustment after the event were compared with patients with good adjustment on baseline depressive symptoms. They used logistic-regression analysis, controlling for several confounders. Results: In multivariate analyses, pre-event depressive symptoms were associated with an increased risk of poor adjustment in terms of social and role functioning, well-being, and general health, but not physical functioning. Conclusions: Elderly persons living in the community reporting depressive symptoms are at increased risk of poor psychosocial adjustment after a somatic event. Each reported baseline depressive symptom was associated with an increased risk of chronic decline; this finding stresses the importance of detecting and treating depression in community-living elderly persons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004



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