Depression and Quality of Life in Older Persons: A Review
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders. 2015, 40 (5-6), 311-339. 10.1159/000437299
Background: Depression is a prevalent and disabling condition in older persons (≥60 years) that increases the risk of mortality and negatively influences quality of life (QOL). The relationship between depression, or depressive symptoms, and QOL has been increasingly addressed by research in recent years, but a review that can contribute to a better understanding of this relationship in older persons is lacking. Against this background, we undertook a literature review to assess the relationship between depression and QOL in older persons. Summary: Extensive electronic database searches revealed 953 studies. Of these, 74 studies fulfilled our criteria for inclusion, of which 52 were cross-sectional studies and 22 were longitudinal studies. Thirty-five studies were conducted in a clinical setting, while 39 were community-based epidemiological studies. A clear definition of the QOL concept was described in 25 studies, and 24 different assessment instruments were employed to assess QOL. Depressed older persons had poorer global and generic health-related QOL than nondepressed individuals. An increase in depression severity was associated with a poorer global and generic health-related QOL. The associations appeared to be stable over time and independent of how QOL was assessed. Key Messages: This review found a significant association between severity of depression and poorer QOL in older persons, and the association was found to be stable over time, regardless which assessment instruments for QOL were applied. The lack of a definition of the multidimensional and multilevel concept QOL was common, and the large variety of QOL instruments in various studies make a direct comparison between the studies difficult.