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Is there a bidirectional relationship between depressive symptoms and cognitive ability in older people?

Is there a bidirectional relationship between depressive symptoms and cognitive ability in older people?
Is there a bidirectional relationship between depressive symptoms and cognitive ability in older people?
Background: cross-sectional surveys of older people commonly find associations between higher levels of depressive symptoms and poorer cognitive performance, but the direction of effect is unclear. We examined whether there was a bidirectional relationship between depressive symptoms and general cognitive ability in non-demented older people, and explored the role of physical health, smoking, exercise, social class and education as potential confounders of this association and as possible determinants of the rate of change of cognitive decline and depressive symptoms.

Method: the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing consists of people aged 50 years and over. Cognitive function and self-reported depressive symptoms were measured in 2002–2003, 2004–2005, 2006–2007 and 2008–2009. We fitted linear piecewise models with fixed knot positions to allow different slopes for different age groups. Analyses are based on 8611 people.

Results: mean cognitive function declined with age; there was no trend in the trajectory of depressive symptoms. Better cognitive function was associated with less depression up to the age of 80 years. Greater depression was associated with a slightly faster rate of cognitive decline but only in people aged 60–80 years. There were no consistent associations across age groups between sex, smoking, education, social class, exercise or number of chronic physical illnesses and the rate of change of cognitive decline or depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: in this longitudinal study of older people, there was no consistent evidence that being more depressed led to an acceleration in cognitive decline and no support for the hypothesis that there might be reciprocal dynamic influences between cognitive ability and depressive symptoms
0033-2917
2057-2069
Gale, C.R.
5bb2abb3-7b53-42d6-8aa7-817e193140c8
Allerhand, M.
30b3123e-2d5e-40c3-b51b-c4bb38c951d7
Deary, I.J.
e3403cfe-eb5b-4941-903d-87ef0db89c60
Gale, C.R.
5bb2abb3-7b53-42d6-8aa7-817e193140c8
Allerhand, M.
30b3123e-2d5e-40c3-b51b-c4bb38c951d7
Deary, I.J.
e3403cfe-eb5b-4941-903d-87ef0db89c60

Gale, C.R., Allerhand, M. and Deary, I.J. (2012) Is there a bidirectional relationship between depressive symptoms and cognitive ability in older people? Psychological Medicine, 42 (10), 2057-2069. (doi:10.1017/S0033291712000402.). (PMID:23206378)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: cross-sectional surveys of older people commonly find associations between higher levels of depressive symptoms and poorer cognitive performance, but the direction of effect is unclear. We examined whether there was a bidirectional relationship between depressive symptoms and general cognitive ability in non-demented older people, and explored the role of physical health, smoking, exercise, social class and education as potential confounders of this association and as possible determinants of the rate of change of cognitive decline and depressive symptoms.

Method: the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing consists of people aged 50 years and over. Cognitive function and self-reported depressive symptoms were measured in 2002–2003, 2004–2005, 2006–2007 and 2008–2009. We fitted linear piecewise models with fixed knot positions to allow different slopes for different age groups. Analyses are based on 8611 people.

Results: mean cognitive function declined with age; there was no trend in the trajectory of depressive symptoms. Better cognitive function was associated with less depression up to the age of 80 years. Greater depression was associated with a slightly faster rate of cognitive decline but only in people aged 60–80 years. There were no consistent associations across age groups between sex, smoking, education, social class, exercise or number of chronic physical illnesses and the rate of change of cognitive decline or depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: in this longitudinal study of older people, there was no consistent evidence that being more depressed led to an acceleration in cognitive decline and no support for the hypothesis that there might be reciprocal dynamic influences between cognitive ability and depressive symptoms

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: March 2012
Published date: October 2012
Organisations: Faculty of Medicine

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 347104
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/347104
ISSN: 0033-2917
PURE UUID: ee9d7a1a-54b7-4124-a1a9-e09138c0842a
ORCID for C.R. Gale: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3361-8638

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Date deposited: 17 Jan 2013 09:50
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 16:44

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Author: C.R. Gale ORCID iD
Author: M. Allerhand
Author: I.J. Deary

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