Sociodemographic and clinical correlates of number of previous depressive episodes in the depressed elderly.
Age of onset has been used as a correlate of depressive symptomatology in the elderly. Examining frequency of episodes may improve our ability to make such correlations. The authors studied variations in an index presentation of depression in late life based on the number of previous depressive episodes. Having more than two previous episodes (as compared to two or less) was related to younger age, early age of onset, dysthymia, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, slowed thoughts, suicidal ideation, generalized anxiety, and decreased perceptions of social support. In a logistic regression model, significant predictors of more than two previous episodes were young age, early age of onset, dysthymia, suicidality, and lower perceived social support. Patients with many episodes may be at higher risk for more severe illness and may require more aggressive treatment.
Steffens, DC; Hays, JC; George, LK; Krishnan, KR; Blazer, DG
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