Impact of depressive symptoms on hospitalization risk in community-dwelling older persons

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2000 Oct;48(10):1279-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2000.tb02602.x.


Objective: To determine whether depressive symptoms in older adults are associated with an increased risk for hospitalization.

Design: A 6 month cohort study.

Setting: Five counties in the northern Piedmont of North Carolina from the Duke University site of the Established Populations for Epidemiological Studies of the Elderly project.

Participants: The sample included 3486 community-dwelling adults, aged 65 and older.

Measurements: Crude risk ratios for the effect of depressive symptoms on 6 month risk for hospitalization were calculated, followed by a multivariable analysis controlling for demographics and health status.

Results: Three hundred participants were hospitalized during the 6 month follow-up period. The crude risk ratio for the effect of depressive symptoms on hospitalization was 1.95 (95% CI = 1.47-2.58). Subgroup analysis showed significant positive risk ratios for men aged 65 to 74 and > or =75, and women aged 65 to 74. After a multivariable analysis, however, these associations remained significant only among men > or =75 (RR = 3.43; 95% CI = 1.33-8.86).

Conclusions: Depressive symptoms were independently associated with a more than threefold increased risk for hospitalization among men aged > or =75. This result reflects differences in the effects of depressive symptoms across age and gender groups, and emphasizes that symptoms of depression influence overall health and medical utilization among, at the very least, the oldest subset of men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged / psychology*
  • Aged / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • North Carolina
  • Odds Ratio
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution