Objective: Major depression is a heterogeneous disorder, perhaps comprising several clinical subtypes or subgroups of symptoms. This study examined whether items on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) form distinct symptom subgroups among geriatric depressive patients that might form the basis of new outcome measures for tracking treatment effects.
Method: The study examined a sample of 225 adults age 59 and older diagnosed with major depression. Factor analysis with oblique rotation was used to analyze baseline MADRS item scores.
Results: Three distinct interpretable factors were obtained; all ten items loaded <0.60 on a domain. The first factor, dysphoric apathy/retardation, comprised five items: apparent sadness, reported sadness, lassitude, reduced concentration, and inability to feel. Psychic anxiety, the second factor, included three items: inner tension, pessimistic thoughts, and suicidal thoughts. The third factor, vegetative symptoms, resulted from items involving sleep and appetite.
Conclusions: The study produced three interpretable MADRS factors reflecting geriatric depression dimensions that may be useable to monitor focused treatment outcomes.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.