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Influence of Gender and Life Stressors on Longitudinal Depression Treatment Outcomes Among Older Primary Care Patients

By Karen Fortuna


Purpose: Depression in older females is a significant and growing problem. Females who experience life stressors across the life span are at higher risk for developing problems with depression than their male counterparts. The primary aim of this study was (a) to examine gender-specific differences in the correlates of depression in older primary care patients based on baseline and longitudinal analyses; and (b) to examine the longitudinal effect of biopsychosocial risk factors on depression treatment outcomes in different models of behavioral healthcare (i.e., integrated care and enhanced referral). Method: This study used a quantitative secondary data analysis with longitudinal data from the Primary Care Research in Substance Abuse and Mental Health for Elderly (PRISM-E) study. A linear mixed model approach to hierarchical linear modeling was used for analysis using baseline assessment, and follow-up from three-month and six-month. Results: For participants diagnosed with major depressive disorder female gender was associated with increased depression severity at six-month compared to males at six-month. Further, the interaction between gender and life stressors found that females who reported loss of family and friends, family issues, money issues, medical illness was related to higher depression severity compared to males whereas lack of activities was related to lower depression severity among females compared to males. Conclusion: These findings suggest that gender moderated the relationship between specific life stressors and depression severity similar to how a protective factor can impact a person’s response to a problem and reduce the negative impact of a risk factor on a problem outcome. Therefore, life stressors may be a reliable predictor of depression for both females and males in either behavioral health treatment model. This study concluded that life stressors influence males basic comfort, stability, and survival whereas life stressors influence females’ development, personal growth, and happiness; therefore, life stressors may be a useful component to include in gender-based screening and assessment tools for depression

Topics: Depression, gender, hierarchical linear modelling
Publisher: FIU Digital Commons
Year: 2014
OAI identifier:

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