, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 259-263

Predictors for Depression, Anxiety and psychotic symptoms in a very elderly population: data from a 3-year follow-up study

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Background: This study examined the predictors for Depression, Anxiety and psychotic symptoms in a population of very elderly persons. Methods: A total of 894 persons with a mean age of 84.5 years were examined twice using a 3-year interval. Physicians performed a structured psychiatric interview and persons with a current disorder or symptom were excluded. Results: Persons who had a history of psychosis, were affected with Dementia and had an insufficient social network had an increased frequency of psychotic symptoms. A history of Depression/Anxiety increased the frequency of having Anxiety and Depression. An insufficient social network was associated with Anxiety. Conclusions: In this study Anxiety, Depression and psychotic symptoms in the very elderly seem to be linked to a lifetime psychological vulnerability, since all were related to a previous psychiatric history. Additionally, psychotic symptoms seemed to emerge due to structural brain damage, as seen in Dementia.

Accepted: 23 February 2000