Depressive symptoms associated with physical health problems in midlife women: A longitudinal study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Background

It is unclear if the relationship between depression and physical health problems in women is related to age, reproductive stage, obesity or socio-demographic risk factors.

Methods

Longitudinal data were obtained every 6 months for 36 months in 264 midlife African American, Caucasian and Latina women who began the study as healthy regularly menstruating 40 to 50-year-olds; 75 transitioned to peri- or post-menopause by 36 months. Scores of 16 or higher on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale were used to estimate depression risk.

Results

Depression risk was 28% at study initiation and 25% at 36 months. Significantly more women at risk for depression were unemployed, obese, or hypertensive. Women at risk were more likely to become peri- or post-menopausal during the study period. A higher percentage (38%) of overweight and obese women had CES-D scores ≥ 16 compared to normal weight women (23%; p < .001). Over half (58%) of the 73 women at higher depression risk at the initial visit reported a health problem or chronic illness at 36 months, compared to only 36% of the 191 women with CES-D scores <16 (p = .001).

Limitations

This was a secondary analysis of data from a relatively healthy sample of women in the decade before menopause. Chronic illness was self-reported and the CES-D is a screening tool for depressive symptoms rather than a clinical diagnostic tool.

Conclusions

Health care providers may be underestimating the impact of unemployment on depressive symptoms, obesity and chronic health problems in midlife women.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Jones, HJ; Minarik, PA; Gilliss, CL; Lee, KA

Published Date

  • February 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 263 /

Start / End Page

  • 301 - 309

PubMed ID

  • 31818793

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6989369

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-2517

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0165-0327

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jad.2019.11.166

Language

  • eng