Depression and risk of hospitalization for pneumonia in a cohort study of older Americans

J Psychosom Res. 2014 Dec;77(6):528-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2014.08.002. Epub 2014 Aug 11.


Objective: The aim of this study is to determine if depression is independently associated with risk of hospitalization for pneumonia after adjusting for demographics, medical comorbidity, health-risk behaviors, baseline cognition and functional impairments.

Methods: This secondary analysis of prospectively collected data examined a population-based sample of 6704 Health and Retirement Study (HRS) (1998-2008) participants>50years old who consented to have their interviews linked to their Medicare claims and were without a dementia diagnosis. The eight-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and/or International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) depression diagnoses were used to identify baseline depression. ICD-9-CM diagnoses were used to identify hospitalizations for which the principal discharge diagnosis was for bacterial or viral pneumonia. The odds of hospitalization for pneumonia for participants with depression relative to those without depression were estimated using logistic regression models. Population attributable fractions were calculated to determine the extent that hospitalizations for pneumonia could be attributable to depression.

Results: After adjusting for demographic characteristics, clinical factors, and health-risk behaviors, depression was independently associated with increased odds of hospitalization for pneumonia (odds ratio [OR]: 1.28, 95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 1.08, 1.53). This association persisted after adjusting for baseline cognition and functional impairments (OR: 1.24, 95%CI: 1.03, 1.50). In this cohort, 6% (95%CI: 2%, 10%) of hospitalizations for pneumonia were potentially attributable to depression.

Conclusion: Depression is independently associated with increased odds of hospitalization for pneumonia. This study provides additional rationale for integrating mental health care into medical settings in order to improve outcomes for older adults.

Keywords: Depression; Hospitalization; Outcome assessment (health care); Pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pneumonia*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology