Social support modifies the relationship between personality and depressive symptoms in older adults.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: To explore the relationship between personality, social support, and depression in older adults, identify the personality trait and social support dimension most closely associated with depression, and determine whether the relationship between personality and depression varies by level of social support. DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis within longitudinal study. PARTICIPANTS: Older patients originally diagnosed with major depression (n = 108) and never-depressed comparison group of older adults (n = 103). MEASUREMENTS: Patients sufficiently recovered from major depression and comparison participants were administered the NEO Personality Inventory. Social support was measured annually for both groups. Patients were administered the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) every 3 months. RESULTS: Patients and comparison participants differed on four of the five NEO domains and all four social support dimensions, but personality did not significantly predict depression status (patient/comparison) in controlled analyses. Within the patient group, subjective social support was the only dimension correlated with MADRS score. In separate linear regression analyses among the patients, controlling for age, sex, and subjective social support, the domains of Neuroticism, Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, and Extraversion were associated with MADRS score. For Neuroticism and Openness, the association varied by level of subjective social support. CONCLUSIONS: Our research confirmed that older patients differed from never-depressed older adults in dimensions of personality and social support, and the relationship between these variables differed by depression status. The relationship between personality, social support, and depressive symptoms in older adults recovering from depression is also complex, with subjective social support modifying the association between personality and depression.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Oddone, CG; Hybels, CF; McQuoid, DR; Steffens, DC

Published Date

  • February 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 19 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 123 - 131

PubMed ID

  • 21328795

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3059603

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1545-7214

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/jgp.0b013e3181f7d89a


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England