Interpersonal Factors and Late-Life Depression


Address correspondence to Gregory A. Hinrichsen, Psychological Services, The Zucker Hillside Hospital, 75–59 263 St., Glen Oaks, NY 11004. E-mail:


An extensive literature about young and middle-aged adults has documented that interpersonal factors increase risk for depression and that depression has deleterious effects on social and family relationships. However, social and family relationships play an important role in the depressed patient's recovery. We know much less about the interpersonal dimensions of depression in late-life than in younger age groups. In this paper, we review studies of interpersonal factors and depression in mixed-age groups. We then examine studies of late-life depression including interpersonal risk factors, daily and social functioning, family issues, interpersonal predictors of the course of illness, and interventions to improve marital and family functioning in depression. We conclude with suggestions for future research and the clinical implications of work in this area.