For Heart Disease, Do Depression Rates Differ Between Middle-aged and Elderly Males?




Burchfield, Jenna
McCormick, Samantha
Krawietz, Bethany
Raschke, M.
Hartos, Jessica


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Purpose: Depression is a debilitating mental illness that has consistently been linked to heart disease, but depression rates between age groups in people within this population are unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess whether depression rates differ between middle-aged and elderly males with cardiac disease. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis utilized 2014 BRFSS data for males 35 and older who have ever been diagnosed with heart disease from Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between depression rates and age while controlling for ethnicity/race, employment status, weight status, exercise, alcohol use, and tobacco use. Results: In this target population, approximately a quarter of the participants reported ever being diagnosed with depression or dysthymia (24-28%) and the majority were 65 and older (63-69%). Depression was about three to four times less likely to be reported in males ages 65 years and older diagnosed with heart disease compared to those 35 to 64 in three out of four states. Conclusions: Overall, this study found that middle-aged males with cardiac disease reported higher rates of depression than their elderly counterparts. The major limitation of this study was the inability to assess the onset of diagnoses or comorbid health conditions over time. General practitioners can expect that roughly a quarter of their male cardiac patients will report depression and that these rates might be higher among unemployed individuals. Primary care providers should assess their male cardiac patients ages 35 and above for depression, especially the younger patients in this group.