J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  1997 May;1(1):100-111.

Depressive Symptoms in Elderly Patients with Physical Illness

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neuropsychiatry, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Neuropsychiatry, Pusan Dong-In Hospital, Pusan, Korea.

Abstract


OBJECTIVES
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of severity of functional disability, caused by physical illness, on the depressive symptoms and depressive disorders of the elderly patients (above 65 year-old) with physical illness. METHOD: Complete medical and psychiatric evaluations were achieved on 138 patients, except the 12 patients, who were severely cognitively impaired (MMSE-K score;below 19), of the 150 elderly patients (above 65 year-old) with physical illness. Sociodemographic data and health characteristic data were systematically collected, and the severity of functional disability caused by physical illness was evaluated. Depression scales (KGDS, GDS, MADRS) on 138 elderly patients were executed. In addition, based on the 61 patients of the 65 elderly patients (above 65 years old) with physical illness, except 4 patients who were severely cognitively impaired (MMSE-K score;below 19), sociodemographic data and health characteristic data were collected. The clinical diagnosis by DSM-IV diagnostic criteria and KGDS on 61 elderly patients were performed, and their functional disability caused by physical illness was evaluated.
RESULTS
The frequency of depressive symptoms showed 50.0%, 36.2%, and 35.5%, respectively in KGDS, GDS, and MADRS. The patients with severe functional disability caused by physical illness-compared with those with mild functional disability-had significantly higher score on the depression scales (KGDS, GDS, MADRS). The correlation between severity of functional disability caused by physical illness and depression scales was highly positive. Severity of functional disability caused by physical illness was the strongest contributor to the depression scales. In the additional study, 19.7% of patients were diagnosed as major depressive disorder, 18% of them as dysthymic disorder, and depressive disorder (major depressive disorder & dysthymic disorder) group-compared with nondepressive disorder group-showed significantly higher score on the FDRPT and KGDS.
CONCLUSION
The frequency of depressive symptoms and depressive disorder in elderly patients with physical illness was higher, compared with those in general elderly people. Functional disability caused by physical illness most highly influenced on depressive symptoms. Thus, it is important to discriminate whether the elderly patients with physical illness have depressive symptoms or not. In addition, we assumed that KGDS was not only highly correlated with other depression scales (GDS, MADRS), but also had the high diagnostic power of dis-crimination for depressive symptoms and depressive disorder. This study suggested that KGDS was available in screening depression in the elderly patients with physical illness. It was necessary to study systematically the availability of KGDS in the future.

Keyword

Geriatric depressive symptom; Physical illness; Korean form of geriatric depression scale (KGDS); Geriatric depression scale (GDS)
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