The role of depression in the association between self-rated physical health and clinically defined illness

Cynthia L. Leibson, Judith Garrard, Nicole Nitz, Lance Waller, Mary Indritz, Jody Jackson, Sharon J. Rolnick, Lori Luepke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

We enrolled 543 elderly participants of a managed care organization in a cross-sectional study to test whether the association between self-rated physical health and clinically defined illness differs for persons who are not depressed compared with persons with minor or serious depression. Depression was measured with the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS). Clinically defined illness was measured with the Chronic Disease Score (CDS), a pharmacy-based measure. Additional variables included age, sex, and self- reported pain and physical function. Self-rated physical health was associated with both minor and serious depression, independent of clinically defined illness; minor depression was no longer significant when self- reported pain and physical function were added to the model. A significant negative correlation between self-rated physical health and clinically defined illness was observed for minor and no depression, but no correlation was seen for serious depression. These results confirm the association between depression and self-rated physical health and emphasize that, for persons with serious depression, self-rated health provides a less accurate picture of clinically defined illness at both ends of the spectrum. Also, a diagnosis of minor depression should not forestall investigation of inconsistencies between patient report and clinical evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-298
Number of pages8
JournalGerontologist
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

Keywords

  • Chronic disease
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression
  • Elderly
  • Self-rated health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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