Psychosocial factors in late life depression

Authors: Ramona Maria Chendereş1, Delia Marina Podea1, Pavel Dan Nanu2, Camelia Mila1, Ligia Piroş1, Mahmud Manasra3

Affiliation: 1West „Vasile Goldiş” University of Arad, Psychiatry Department, 2West „Vasile Goldiş” University of Arad, Neurology Department, 3DGASPC Satu Mare



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ABSTRACT. Late-life depression is one of the most common mental health problems in adults over the age of 65; even so it is often under-recognized and under-treated because many patients and their families believe that depressed mood is a normal state of the growing old adult. Additionally, the clinical picture may be different from the clinical picture in younger adults; frequently there are co-morbid physical illnesses or dementia. (Rodda et al., 2008). Late life depression should be considered an individual clinical entity, despite the heterogeneity of its clinical manifestation. Age is a factor that can influence and modify the aetiology, physiopathology, clinical manifestations, treatment response and outcome of late life depression. (Roose et al., 2004). Age related physical and psychosocial factors increase the vulnerability of elderly people to depression. Psychosocial model of mental health finds that late-life depression can be generated by loss of self-esteem (helplessness, powerlessness), loss of meaningful roles (work productivity), declining social contacts, reduced functional status or low financial resources. Late-life depression has been shown to be influenced, less by genetic factors and more by psychosocial factors and biological factors (somatic diseases). The aim of this paper is to show how important are the psychosocial factors in the aetiology of late life depression and in the early diagnosis of the disorder. Additionally, the targets of intervention are modifiable risk factors and many of them are psychosocial factors.

Keywords: late life depression, aetiology, psychosocial factors