Background: Studies in western populations have shown a positive association between depression and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality. The association with depressive symptoms seems to be graded, rather than limited to the presence versus the absence of depression. Evidence from populations with potentially different patterns of confounders helps to address the consistency of these findings. The objective of the study was to investigate the association between depressive symptoms and all-cause and CVD mortality in populations of Central and Eastern Europe.
Study design: This was a prospective cohort study.
Methods: A total of 24,542 participants aged 45-69 years, randomly selected from populations of Novosibirsk (Russia), Krakow (Poland) and six Czech towns, were included. Depressive symptoms, assessed by the 20-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale, were used as both continuous and categorical variables. Data on deaths were obtained from local or national death registers. Associations between depression and mortality were assessed using Cox proportional hazards models.
Results: Over a median of 7 years, 2091 deaths from all causes and 850 CVD deaths occurred in the cohorts. There was a graded association between CES-D score and mortality; the hazard ratio (HR) of CVD mortality for a 1 SD increase in CES-D was 1.20 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.16-1.24) in men and 1.23 (95% CI: 1.12-1.35) in women; for all-cause mortality, the HRs were 1.13 (95% CI: 1.09-1.18) and 1.17 (95% CI: 1.10-1.25), respectively. The results were similar across countries.
Conclusions: Depressive symptoms predicted CVD and all-cause mortality independently of a wide range of potential confounders. The association followed a gradient and increased mortality risks were associated with scores below the cut-offs that are commonly used to define 'depression'.
Keywords: Depressive symptoms; Eastern Europe; cardiovascular disease; mortality.
© The European Society of Cardiology 2016.