Depression and social support in elderly patients with cardiac disease.
BACKGROUND: Depression is common among patients with cardiac disease. A number of psychosocial factors may affect the relationship between physical health and depression. There is evidence from the psychiatric literature suggesting that negative life events and social support are important factors in the development and outcome of depression. It is unknown if these factors are important in the context of depression in medically ill patients. Thus it is important to examine the relationship among social support, negative life events, and the presence of depression in elderly patients with cardiac disease. METHODS: Patients with coronary artery disease were assessed with the Duke Depression Evaluation Schedule for the Elderly. This includes the mood and anxiety disorder section of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule modified for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders diagnoses, life events, and multidimensional assessment of social support. Two hypotheses were tested: (1) the number of concurrent negative life events will be higher in patients with coronary artery disease with major depression than those without depression, and (2) social support will be less in patients with major depression than in those without. RESULTS: Presence of major depression was associated with increased negative life events and lowered subjective social support after accounting for age, sex, and race. CONCLUSIONS: The finding that subjective social support and negative life events are related to major depression suggests that even in the context of medical illness, social factors are still important in the development of major depression.
Krishnan, KR; George, LK; Pieper, CF; Jiang, W; Arias, R; Look, A; O'Connor, C
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