Depression as a risk for cancer morbidity and mortality in a nationally representative sample

JAMA. 1989 Sep 1;262(9):1191-5.


The relative risks for cancer morbidity and mortality associated with depressive symptoms were examined using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale and the depression subscale from the General Well-being Schedule were used as predictors in this 10-year follow-up study of a nationally representative sample. No significant risk for cancer morbidity or mortality was associated with depressive symptoms with or without adjustment for age, sex, marital status, smoking, family history of cancer, hypertension, and serum cholesterol level. These data were also reanalyzed for subjects aged 55 years or older who were retraced by a second follow-up. Neither measure of depressive symptoms was a significant risk for cancer death during the 15-year follow-up interval. These results call into question the causal connection between depressive symptoms and cancer morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Depression / complications*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • United States