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Functional impairment and depressive symptoms in older adults: Mitigating effects of hope

Authors

  • Jameson K. Hirsch,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Rural Psychological and Physical Health, Department of Psychology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, USA
    2. Geriatric Psychiatry Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA
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  • Fuschia M. Sirois,

    1. Health and Well-Being Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Bishop's University, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
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  • Jeffrey M. Lyness

    1. Geriatric Psychiatry Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA
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Jameson K. Hirsch, Laboratory of Rural Psychological and Physical Health, Department of Psychology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA 37614 (e-mail: hirsch@etsu.edu).

Abstract

Objectives. We examined trait hopefulness and its component subscales of agency and pathways as potential moderators of the association between functional impairment and depressive symptoms, hypothesizing that hopefulness would buffer this association.

Design. Cross-sectional, interview-based.

Methods. Older adult, primary care patients (N= 105; 62% female) completed measures of cognitive functioning, functional impairment, medical illness burden, trait hope, and depressive symptoms.

Results. Functional impairment was significantly positively associated with depressive symptoms and dispositional hope total score moderated this relationship. Independently, the pathways subscale was a significant moderator and agency neared significance, yet their interaction was not significant.

Conclusions. Older adults with functional impairment appear to benefit from agency and pathways; either subcomponent alone or their additive effect can activate hopefulness. Facilitation of infrastructure (pathways), primarily, and self-efficacy (agency), secondarily, may be important strategies for reducing depressive symptoms in elderly patients with functional impairment.

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