Depressive symptoms among the medically hospitalized older individuals — a 1-year follow-up study


  • Anne-Sofie Helvik,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division Tynset, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Tynset, Norway
    2. St Olav's University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
    • Department of Public Health and General Practice, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
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  • Knut Engedal,

    1. Centre for Old Age Psychiatric Research, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Ottestad, Norway
    2. The Norwegian Centre for Dementia Research, University Hospital Ullevaal, Oslo, Norway
    3. Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
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  • Geir Selbæk

    1. Centre for Old Age Psychiatric Research, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Ottestad, Norway
    2. Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway
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Anne-S. Helvik, E-mail:



The present follow-up study of older medically hospitalized patients from a rural area in Norway assessed the prevalence of depressive symptoms at 1-year follow-up and furthermore explored whether depressive symptoms at follow-up was associated with change in the medical, functional or emotional situation between baseline and follow-up.


A 1-year follow-up study included 363 (175 men) older medical inpatients with age range 65–98 (mean = 80.2; standard deviation (SD) = 7.5) years. Information was collected at baseline and follow-up using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HAD), the Mini-Mental State Examination, Lawton and Brody's scales for physical self-maintenance and performance of the instrumental activities of daily living.


The prevalence of depressive symptoms, as defined by a score ≥ 8 at HAD-D, was 10% at baseline and 7% at follow-up. Of those with depressive symptoms at baseline, 78% had experienced remission. The incidence of depressive symptoms at follow-up was 5%. In logistic regression analyses adjusted for age, gender, and depressive symptoms at baseline, becoming or being in need of assistance from nursing or social services (odds ratio (OR) = 8.1, 95% CI: 1.9–34.2 and OR = 4.4, 95% CI: 1.1–17.4, respectively), having a cognitive decline (OR = 1.1, 95% CI: 1.0–1.3), and exhibiting poorer physical self-maintenance (OR = 1.2, 95% CI: 1.0–1.3), becoming vision impaired (OR = 8.3, 95% CI: 2.8–25.0), and with increased anxiety (OR = 1.2, 95% CI: 1.0–1.3) during follow-up was associated with depressive symptoms at follow-up.


The 1-year follow-up study of older medical inpatients contributes to the research body regarding risk factors of depression in older people. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.