Factors associated with depressive symptoms in non-demented community-dwelling elderly

Dylan G. Harwood, Warren W. Barker, Raymond L. Ownby, Michael Mullan, Ranjan Duara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective. We examined the risk for depressive symptoms associated with age, education, ethnicity, gender, marital status, apolipoprotein E genotype (APOE) and memory complaints among non-demented elderly (≥ 60 years). Design. Cross-sectional study of geriatric patients recruited from a free memory screening offered to the community. Sample. This investigation included 506 community-residing elderly subjects who were screened for cognitive impairment and classified as non-demented based on age and education adjusted Folstein Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSAdj) scores of 24 or greater. Results. The prevalence of significant depressive symptoms (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale ≥ 12) was 12.1% (N = 61). Increased risk for depression was associated with female gender (OR = 2.3; 95% CI = 1.1-4.8; p < 0.05), Cuban American ethnicity (OR = 4.9; 95% CI = 2.3-10.4; p < 0.0001) and memory complaints (OR = 1.3; 95% CI = 1.2-1.4; p < 0.0001). The APOE allele frequencies in the current sample were 0.07, 0.80 and 0.13 for the ε2, ε3 and ε4 alleles, respectively. Conclusions. The results suggest that signs and symptoms of depression are common among non-demented elderly subjects in the community. In this study, mood disturbances were associated with Cuban American ethnicity, female gender and more memory complaints. Factors that were not confirmed by this study include age, education, marital status and APOE genotype. The observed APOE ε4 allele frequency of 0.13 supports the normal cognitive classification of the sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-337
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 1999


  • Depression
  • Elderly
  • Non-demented
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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