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Depressive symptoms are highly prevalent in nursing home (NH) residents. The relationship between depressive symptoms and everyday competence in terms of basic (BaCo) and expanded everyday competence (ExCo; see Baltes et al., 2001) in the NH setting is, however, not clear. Applying Lewinsohn's depression model, we examined how residents’ BaCo and ExCo relate to their depressive symptoms. Furthermore, we investigated the mediating role of perceived control.
Cross-sectional data from 196 residents (Mage = 83.7 years, SD = 9.4 years) of two German NHs were analyzed. Study variables were assessed by the Geriatric Depression Scale-Residential (GDS-12R), maximal gait speed (BaCo), proxy ratings of residents’ in-home activity participation, and self-initiated social contact done by staff (ExCo). Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used and a simulation study was included to determine power and potential estimation bias.
At the descriptive level, one quarter of the residents showed symptoms of depression according to the GDS-12R cut-off criterion. Residents’ BaCo and ExCo were independently and equally strongly associated with their depressive symptoms in the SEM analysis. These findings were affected neither by cognitive impairment, sex, nor age. Perceived control mediated between BaCo but not ExCo and depressive symptoms.
Future research needs to follow the connection between residents’ everyday competence and their depressive symptoms longitudinally to better understand the underlying mechanisms.
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