Among older people with major depression, several factors may predict whether the depression will still be a problem six months later. In one study, researchers from Boston analyzed data from 792 people ages 65 and older who had major depression. The participants took part in a study that compared different approaches for providing mental health services and measured how many people had remission from their major depression at six months.

Twenty-nine percent of participants experienced remission from their depression, and 71 percent did not. Factors that were associated with a higher chance of not responding included also having anxiety (linked to a 60 percent higher risk of non-remission), being female (49 percent higher risk), having medical problems (15 percent higher risk) and having more severe depression symptoms at the beginning (4 percent higher risk).

These findings support the idea that older people with depression along with other psychiatric or physical problems should be closely monitored.

Source: International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Volume 26, page 48, January 2011

Publication Review By: Karen L. Swartz, M.D.

Published: 21 Aug 2013

Last Modified: 21 Aug 2013