Psychiatry Investig.  2018 Oct;15(10):926-934. 10.30773/pi.2018.06.28.2.

Gender-Specific Associations of Sensory Impairments with Depression and Cognitive Impairment in Later Life

Affiliations
  • 1Institute of Aging, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Republic of Korea.
  • 2Department of Health Policy and Management, College of Health Sciences & Department of Public Health Sciences, Graduate School, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. kimhaey@korea.ac.kr

Abstract


OBJECTIVE
Sensory impairments, such as vision and hearing impairments, increase with age, and studies have shown that self-reported vision and hearing impairments are associated with adverse mental health outcomes in later life. Although gender differences may exist in the associations between sensory impairments and geriatric mental health outcomes, little research has been done examining gender differences in the above associations. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between self-reported sensory impairments and geriatric mental health outcomes with the aim of determining whether any association differs by gender.
METHODS
The study sample was drawn from a nationally representative data set, the 2012 Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing, and the final sample consisted of 2,167 females and 1,664 males aged 65 and over. Self-reported sensory impairments were categorized into four groups: no sensory impairment (reference), vision impairment only, hearing impairment only, and dual sensory impairment. Depression and cognitive impairment were used as dependent variables in separate analyses.
RESULTS
Adjusted for confounding variables, results from a multivariate analysis showed that vision impairment was significantly associated with depression only among women. Moreover, hearing impairment was significantly associated with cognitive impairment for women, but not for men. Having dual sensory impairment was associated with depression only among men, while having dual sensory impairment was associated with cognitive impairment only among women.
CONCLUSION
These findings suggest that the associations between sensory impairments and geriatric mental health outcomes vary according to gender. Therefore, gender-specific strategies in healthcare policies are needed.

Keyword

Sensory impairment; Gender differences; Depression; Cognitive impairment
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