Ageing and trajectories of depressive symptoms in community-dwelling men and women




The aim of this study was to investigate age-related patterns of depressive symptoms in older men and women and to identify their determinants.


The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale was used to prospectively assess depressive symptoms in 1059 men and 1531 women, enrolled in a French representative population-based cohort (PAQUID study) and followed over a period of 20 years. Using a group-based trajectory method with an accelerated longitudinal design, we modelled the course of depressive symptoms between 65 and 104 years of age and examined associations between trajectory patterns and baseline socio-demographic and health variables.


In men, we identified three rising trajectories: ‘never depressed’ including 65% of the sample, ‘emerging depression’ (28%) and ‘increasing depression’ (7%). Compared with the membership of the never-depressed trajectory, that of the two higher trajectories was significantly associated with a history of depression and dyspnoea. In women, we identified two slightly rising trajectories (never depressed, 56%, and ‘rising subclinical’, 33%) and one stable high trajectory (‘persistent depression’, 11%). Membership of the two higher trajectories was significantly associated with the use of benzodiazepine, polymedication and dyspnoea. A history of nondepressive psychiatric disorder was a risk factor for membership of the persistent-depression group, whereas being widowed seemed to be a protective factor for membership of this group.


High-risk groups for later-life depression should be targeted differently in older men and women in order to implement appropriate interventions to prevent chronicity and disability. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.