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Keywords:

  • tea consumption;
  • cerebrovascular disease;
  • depressive symptoms;
  • aging;
  • China;
  • population-based study

Objectives

To examine the association between tea consumption and depressive symptoms in Chinese older people and to explore the mediating role of cerebrovascular disease in the association.

Design

Population-based cross-sectional study.

Setting

A rural community near Qufu in Shandong, China.

Participants

Community-dwelling individuals aged 60 and older (mean 68.6; 59.3% female) from the Confucius Hometown Aging Project (N = 1,368).

Measurments

Data were collected through interviews, clinical examinations, and psychological testing, following a standard procedure. Presence of high depressive symptoms was defined as a score of 5 or greater on the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale.

Results

Of the 1,368 participants, 165 (12.1%) were weekly and 489 (35.7%) were daily tea consumers. Compared with no or irregular tea consumption, controlling for age, sex, education, leisure activities, number of comorbidities, and Mini-Mental State Examination score, the odds ratios of having high depressive symptoms were 0.86 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.56–1.32) for weekly and 0.59 (95% CI = 0.43–0.81) for daily tea consumption (P for linear trend = .001); the linear trend of the association remained statistically significant when further controlling for history of stroke, transient ischemic attacks, and presence of carotid plaques.

Conclusions

Daily tea consumption is associated with a lower likelihood of depressive symptoms in Chinese older people living in a rural community. The association appears to be independent of cerebrovascular disease and atherosclerosis.