15/03/2016 Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.12.070 SemanticScholar ID: 20459201 MAG: 2207358546

Life adversity in depressed and non-depressed older adults: A cross-sectional comparison of the brief LTE-Q questionnaire and life events and difficulties interview as part of the CASPER study.

Publication Summary

Abstract Background There is a paucity of research on the nature of life adversity in depressed and non-depressed older adults. Early life events work used in-depth interviews; however, larger epidemiological trials investigate life adversity using brief questionnaires. This study investigates the type of life adversity experienced in later life and its association with depression and compares adversity captured using a brief (LTE-Q) and in-depth (LEDS) measure. Methods 960 participants over 65 years were recruited in UK primary care to complete the PHQ-9 and LTE-Q. A sub-sample (n=19) completed the LEDS and a question exploring the subjective experience of the LTE-Q and LEDS. Results Important life adversity was reported on the LTE-Q in 48% of the sample. In the LTE-Q sample the prevalence of depression (PHQ-9≥10) was 12%. Exposure to recent adversity was associated with doubling of the odds of depression. The LTE-Q only captured a proportion of adversity measured by the LEDS (42% vs 84%). Both measures showed health, bereavement and relationship events were most common. Limitations The cross-sectional design limits the extent to which inferences can be drawn around the direction of causality between adversity and depression. Recall in older adults is questionable. Conclusions UK older adults face adversity in areas of health, bereavement and relationships which are associated with depression. This has clinical relevance for psychological interventions for older adults to consider social context and social support. It helps identify the strengths and weaknesses of a brief adversity measure in large scale research. Further research is needed to explore the mechanisms of onset and direction of causality.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Simon Gilbody

Prof. Simon Gilbody

University of York - Director of the Mental Health and Addictions Research Group

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