Aging without depression: a cross-sectional study

Psychodyn Psychiatry. 2014 Mar;42(1):5-22. doi: 10.1521/pdps.2014.42.1.5.


Objectives: The aim of the study was to analyze the association between secure attachment style, loneliness, and social network as risk factors for late-life depression.

Methods: This cross-sectional study examined 969 subjects of the KORA-Age study. We applied the Relationship-Specific Attachment Scales for Adults (Beziehungsspezifische Bindungsskalen für Erwachsene, BBE), the UCLA Loneliness Scale, and the Social Network Index (SNI). Depression was operationalized through the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15) and/or use of antidepressants. Logistic-regression models were calculated, sex-stratified, and controlled for age and living status.

Results: For men, lower depression scores were associated with higher attachment security scores (OR = 0.26, 95% CI = 0.15-0.44) and not reporting feelings of loneliness (OR = 0.27, 95% CI = 0.14-0.53). For women, independent determinants of not having late life depression consist of not feeling lonely (OR = 0.22, 95% CI = 0.13-0.38).

Discussion: Loneliness is a risk factor for late life depression in women and men, attachment style is a risk factor more for men, while social network size is not a risk factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Loneliness*
  • Male
  • Object Attachment*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support*