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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on depression in community-dwelling older adults: a prospective cohort study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 December 2021

Dae Jong Oh
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea Department of Psychiatry, SMG-SNU Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
Hee Won Yang
Affiliation:
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Gyeonggido, Korea
Seung Wan Suh
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Seonjeong Byun
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Uijeongbu St. Mary's Hospital, Uijeongbu, Korea
Tae Hui Kim
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University Wonju Severance Christian Hospital, Wonju, Korea
Kyung Phil Kwak
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Dongguk University Gyeongju Hospital, Gyeongju, Korea
Bong Jo Kim
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Gyeongsang National University School of Medicine, Jinju, Korea
Shin Gyeom Kim
Affiliation:
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Soonchunhyang University Bucheon Hospital, Bucheon, Korea
Jeong Lan Kim
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea
Seok Woo Moon
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Konkuk University, Konkuk University Chungju Hospital, Chungju, Korea
Joon Hyuk Park
Affiliation:
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Jeju National University Hospital, Jeju, Korea
Seung-Ho Ryu
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Konkuk University, Konkuk University Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
Dong Woo Lee
Affiliation:
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Inje University Sanggye Paik Hospital, Seoul, Korea
Seok Bum Lee
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Dankook University Hospital, Cheonan, Korea
Jung Jae Lee
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Dankook University Hospital, Cheonan, Korea
Jin Hyeong Jhoo
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Kangwon National University School of Medicine, Chuncheon, Korea
Jong Bin Bae
Affiliation:
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Gyeonggido, Korea
Ji Won Han
Affiliation:
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Gyeonggido, Korea
Ki Woong Kim*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Gyeonggido, Korea Department of Brain and Cognitive Science, Seoul National University College of Natural Sciences, Seoul, Korea
*
Author for correspondence: Ki Woong Kim, E-mail: kwkimmd@snu.ac.kr

Abstract

Background

There are growing concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of older adults. We examined the effect of the pandemic on the risk of depression in older adults.

Methods

We analyzed data from the prospective cohort study of Korean older adults, which has been followed every 2 years. Among the 2308 participants who completed both the third and the fourth follow-up assessments, 58.4% completed their fourth follow-up before the outbreak of COVID-19 and the rest completed it during the pandemic. We conducted face-to-face diagnostic interviews using Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview and used Geriatric Depression Scale. We performed generalized estimating equations and logistic regression analyses.

Results

The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increased depressive symptoms in older adults [b (standard error) = 0.42 (0.20), p = 0.040] and a doubling of the risk for incident depressive disorder even in euthymic older adults without a history of depression (odds ratio = 2.44, 95% confidence interval 1.18–5.02, p = 0.016). Less social activities, which was associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic. However, less family gatherings, which was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was associated with the doubled risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic.

Conclusions

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly influences the risk of late-life depression in the community. Older adults with a lack of family gatherings may be particularly vulnerable.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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