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The symptomatology of depression in the elderly

Katona, C; Livingston, G; Manela, M; Leek, C; Mullan, E; Orrell, M; D'Ath, P; (1997) The symptomatology of depression in the elderly. International Clinical Psychopharmacology , 12 (SUPPL. 7) 10.1097/00004850-199705002-00005.

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Older people may have a different pattern of depressive symptoms to that found earlier in life, in particular having more somatic symptoms and less overt low mood symptoms. Few attempts have been made to relate such differences to more general aspects of cognitive or emotional processing, such as the presence of dysfunctional attitudes or of alexithymia. Symptom differences within depression in old age have also received relatively little study, as has the ability of individual symptoms to distinguish between depressed and non-depressed elderly populations. These issues have been examined in two studies. In the first, a random sample of 700 subjects aged 65 years and over were identified through door-knocking in randomized enumeration districts in Islington, a socially deprived region of inner city London, and evaluated using a shortened version of the Comprehensive Assessment and Referral Evaluation (Short-CARE), which incorporates a depression subscale (DPDS). All 18 DPDS items distinguished significantly between depressed and non-depressed subjects (P < 0.0001). Depressed men were significantly more pessimistic than depressed women (63 versus 40%; P <0.05); non-significant trends suggested that depressed women are more worried (39 versus 22%) and more restless (50 versus 31%), and depressed men more likely to be 'not very happy' or 'not happy at all' (53 versus 36%). There were no significant differences between older (age >74 years) and younger subjects. Several other Short-CARE items, predominantly addressing subjective memory and disability, also distinguished significantly between the depressed and non-depressed groups. Logistic regression analysis identified eight items of the DPDS contributing significantly to the predictive ability of the total scale. In the second study, the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS) and the Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale (DAS; 3) were administered to primary-care attenders aged >64 years, and those with significant depressive symptoms were matched by age and sex to a depression-free control group. Depressed subjects had higher scores on both the TAS (Mann-Whitney U-test z = -4.71, P < 0.0001) and on the DAS (z = -2.49, P < 0.02).

Type: Article
Title: The symptomatology of depression in the elderly
DOI: 10.1097/00004850-199705002-00005
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/91821
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