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Depressive Symptoms Increase the Risk of Mortality for White but Not Black Older Adults

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
2
Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Healthcare 2018, 6(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare6020036
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 23 April 2018
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PDF [256 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]

Abstract

Introduction. Long-term studies have shown that depressive symptoms predict the risk of mortality. However, it is unknown if this effect is present in shorter time intervals. In addition, recent research suggests that the salience of the negative affect on the risk of mortality is not similar across racial groups. The current study uses data from a national study of Black and White older adults to examine racial differences in the effect of baseline depressive symptoms on mortality risk over three years in the United States. Methods. This study used a longitudinal prospective design and followed 1493 older adults who were either White (n = 759) or Black (n = 734) for three years from 2001 to 2004. Depressive symptoms measured at baseline was the independent variable. Demographic factors, socio-economic characteristics (education, income, marital status), health behaviors (smoking and drinking), and health (self-rated health) measured at baseline in 2001 were covariates. The dependent variable was all-cause mortality between 2001 and 2004. Race was the moderator. Logistic regressions were used for data analysis. Results. In the pooled sample, high depressive symptoms at baseline were not associated with the three-year risk of mortality. In the pooled sample, we found a significant interaction between race and depressive symptoms on mortality, suggesting a stronger effect for Whites in comparison to Blacks. In race stratified models, depressive symptoms at baseline were predictive of mortality risk for Whites, but not Blacks. Conclusions. In the United States, Black-White differences exist in the effects of depressive symptoms on mortality risk in older adults. White older adults may be more vulnerable to the effects of depressive symptoms on mortality risk. View Full-Text
Keywords: race; ethnic groups; African Americans; mortality; depression; depressive symptoms race; ethnic groups; African Americans; mortality; depression; depressive symptoms
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Assari, S. Depressive Symptoms Increase the Risk of Mortality for White but Not Black Older Adults. Healthcare 2018, 6, 36.

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