J Korean Acad Nurs.  2023 Aug;53(4):453-467. 10.4040/jkan.23018.

An Investigation of the Cumulative Effects of Depressive Symptoms on the Cognitive Function in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Analysis of the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging

  • 1College of Nursing, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
  • 2The Research Institute of Nursing Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea


This study investigated the cumulative effects of depressive symptoms on cognitive function over time in community-dwelling older adults. Methods: Data were investigated from 2,533 community-dwelling older adults who participated in the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA) from the 5th (2014) to the 8th wave (2020). The association between cumulative depressive symptoms and cognitive function was identified through multiple regression analysis. Results: When the multiple regression analysis was conducted from each wave, the current depressive symptoms scores and cognitive function scores were negatively associated, regardless of the waves (B5th = - 0.26, B6th = - 0.26, B7th = - 0.26, and B8th = - 0.27; all p < .001). Further, when all the previous depressive symptoms scores were added as explanatory variables in the 8th wave, the current one (B8th = - 0.09, p < .001) and the previous ones (B5th = - 0.11, B6th = - 0.09, and B7th = - 0.13; all p < .001) were also negatively associated with the cognitive function score. The delta R2 , which indicates the difference between the model’s R2 with and without the depressive symptoms scores, was greater in the model with all the previous and current depressive symptoms scores (6.4%) than in the model with only the current depressive symptoms score (3.6%). Conclusion: Depressive symptoms in older adults have a long-term impact. This results in an accumulated adverse effect on the cognitive function. Therefore, to prevent cognitive decline in older adults, we suggest detecting their depressive symptoms early and providing continuous intervention to reduce exposure to long-term depressive symptoms.


Aged; Cognitive Dysfunction; Depression; Linear Models
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