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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 182

Gender, depressive symptoms, chronic medical conditions, and time to first psychiatric diagnosis among American older adults

1 Department of Family Medicine, Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science; Department of Psychology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA
2 Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Correspondence Address:
Shervin Assari
Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, 4250 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2700
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_333_15

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Background: To test whether gender moderates the effects of baseline depressive symptoms and chronic medical conditions (CMCs) on risk of receiving subsequent psychiatric diagnosis among older adults. Methods: Data came from ten waves of the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative longitudinal study. We followed 9794 individuals older than 52 years without any diagnosed psychiatric disorder at baseline for up to 18 years. Baseline depressive symptoms and CMC were the predictors, time to receiving an emotional diagnosis was the outcome, baseline demographics and socioeconomics were controls, and gender was the moderator. We used Cox proportional hazards models for data analysis. Results: In the pooled sample, female gender increased the effect of baseline depressive symptoms (hazard ratio [HR], 1.58; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.26–2.00) and reduced the effect of baseline CMC (HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.63–0.97) on time to receiving a psychiatric diagnosis. Among men, baseline depressive symptoms (HR, 2.36; 95% CI, 1.87–2.97) increased and baseline CMC (HR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.69–0.95) decreased time to receiving a psychiatric diagnosis. Among women, depressive symptoms (HR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.21–1.83) but not CMC (HR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.91–1.23) were associated with time to receiving a psychiatric diagnosis over time. Conclusions: Men and women differ in how depressive symptoms and CMC influence their risk of receiving a psychiatric diagnosis over time. Depressive symptoms are more salient promotor for men than women while CMC is only a barrier for men.

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