Castellanos, M. Á., Ausín, B., Bestea, S., González-Sanguino, C., & Muñoz, M.
A Network Analysis of Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms and Age- and Gender-Related Differences in People over 65 in a Madrid Community Sample (Spain)
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most prevalent conditions among mental disorders in individuals over 65 years. People over 65 who suffer from MDD are often functionally impaired, chronically physically ill, and express cognitive problems. The concordance between a clinician-assessed MDD diagnosis in a primary care setting and MDD assessed with a structured clinical interview in older adults is only approximately 18%. Network analysis may provide an alternative statistical technique to better understand MDD in this population by a dimensional approach to symptomatology. The aim of this study was to carry out a network analysis of major depressive disorder (MDD) in people over 65 years old. A symptom network analysis was conducted according to age and gender in 555 people over 65, using a sample from the MentDis_ICF65+ Study. The results revealed different networks for men and women, and for the age groups 65–74 and 75–84. While depressive mood stood out in women, in men the network was more dispersed with fatigue or loss of energy and sleep disturbances as the main symptoms. In the 65–74 age group, the network was complex; however, in the 75–84 age group, the network was simpler with sleep disturbances as the central symptom. The gaps between the networks indicate the different characteristics of MDD in the elderly, with variations by gender and age, supporting the idea that MDD is a complex dynamic system that has unique characteristics in each person, rather than a prototypical classification with an underlying mental disorder. These unique characteristics can be taken into account in the clinical practice for detection and intervention of MDD.
Castellanos, M. Á., Ausín, B., Bestea, S., González-Sanguino, C., & Muñoz, M. (2020). A network analysis of major depressive disorder symptoms and age- and gender-related differences in people over 65 in a Madrid Community sample (Spain). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,17, 8934. doi:10.3390/ijerph17238934