Vascular Pathology and Trajectories of Late-Life Major Depressive Disorder in Secondary Psychiatric Care

Katherine L. Musliner, Peter P. Zandi, Xiaoqin Liu, Thomas M. Laursen, Trine Munk-Olsen, Preben B. Mortensen, William W. Eaton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine 5-year trajectories of psychiatrist-treated late-life major depressive disorder (MDD), and evaluate whether previous vascular pathology is associated with more severe trajectories of late-life MDD. Methods: Data were obtained from nationally representative civil, psychiatric, hospital, and prescription registers in Denmark. The sample included 11,092 older adults (≥60 years) who received their first diagnosis of MDD in a psychiatric facility in Denmark between 2000 and 2007. Trajectories of inpatient or outpatient contact at psychiatric hospitals for MDD over the 5-year period following index MDD diagnosis were modeled using latent class growth analysis. Measures of vascular disease (stroke, heart disease, vascular dementia) and vascular risk factors (hypertension, diabetes) were defined based on medication prescriptions and hospital-based diagnoses. Other predictors included demographic characteristics and characteristics of the index MDD diagnosis. Results: The final model included 4 trajectories with consistently low (66% of the sample), high decreasing (19%), consistently high (9%), and moderate fluctuating (6%) probabilities of contact at a psychiatric hospital for MDD during the 5-year period following the index MDD diagnosis. We found no significant associations between any form of vascular pathology and trajectory class membership. Relative to the consistently low class, older age, greater severity and >12 months of prior antidepressant medication use predicted membership in the other three classes. Conclusions: A notable proportion (34%) of individuals diagnosed with MDD in late-life require secondary psychiatric treatment for extended time periods. We did not find evidence that vascular pathology predicts hospital contact trajectories in secondary-treated late-life MDD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-395
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Major depression
  • trajectories
  • vascular disease
  • vascular risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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