The relationship between mentally unhealthy days and depressive symptoms among older adults over time

Kimberly A. Skarupski, Matthew M. Zack, Julia L. Bienias, Paul A. Scherr, Denis A. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article sought to determine the extent to which the number of self-reported mentally unhealthy days (MUDs) in the past 30 days estimates depressive symptoms in older adults. The sample of 4,321 community-dwelling residents aged 65 and above originated from an ongoing population-based study of older Blacks and Whites. Participants' data from 1993 through 2005 included the single MUD question and questions from the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Short Depression Scale (CES-D). Fourteen percent of participants had four or more depressive symptoms at baseline; of these, only 52% reported one or more MUD. Thirty-eight percent of those with one or more MUDs had four or more depressive symptoms. The results illustrate an interesting association regarding the measurements of two distinct, but related, mental health constructs. Although the number of MUDs was associated with having more depressive symptoms over time, the single-question MUD measure does not fully capture depressive symptomatology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-253
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • depression
  • prospective
  • psychological well-being
  • psychometrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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