Few national longitudinal studies have investigated the modifiable risk factors for depression in the elderly. This study investigated the risk factors and health-related behaviors associated with depressive symptoms using a national survey of Taiwanese elderly with a 4-year follow-up period. In this prospective cohort study, 1481 non-demented population-based elderly were interviewed at baseline in 2003 and at follow-up in 2007. The independent variables included demographics, chronic medical diseases and health-related behaviors assessed at baseline. The dependent variable was depressive symptoms assessed at follow-up. Reduced rank regression was applied to characterize independent factors related to depressive symptoms. The prevalence of depressive symptoms at follow-up was 21.1%. The results of multivariate analyses revealed three independent risk factors for depressive symptoms: fewer leisure activities (odds ratio, OR = 0.56, 95% confidence interval, CI = 0.38–0.83, p = 0.0034), more mobility limitations (OR = 1.93, 95% CI = 1.30–2.86, p = 0.0011) and higher stress levels (OR = 2.43, 95% CI = 1.68–3.50, p < 0.0001). The leisure activities least associated with depression were reading newspapers/books and doing outdoor building projects; the two mobility limitations most associated with depression were difficulty in lifting things and in climbing stairs. The two stresses most associated with depression were perceived health stress and financial stress. These results indicated that interventions to prevent or reduce depression in older adults should include practical strategies aimed at these modifiable risk factors.
Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2012
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