Loneliness and Depressive Symptoms Are High Among Older Adults With Digestive Disease and Associated With Lower Perceived Health.

TitleLoneliness and Depressive Symptoms Are High Among Older Adults With Digestive Disease and Associated With Lower Perceived Health.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationForthcoming
AuthorsCohen-Mekelburg, S, Jordan, A, Kenney, B, Burgess, HJ, Chang, JW, Hu, HMei, Tapper, E, Langa, KM, Levine, DA, Waljee, AK
JournalClin Gastroenterol Hepatol
ISSN Number1542-7714
KeywordsEpidemiology, General Practice, Outcomes Research, Psychiatric Disorders
Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Current approaches to managing digestive disease in older adults fail to consider the psychosocial factors contributing to a person's health. We aimed to compare the frequency of loneliness, depression, and social isolation in older adults with and without a digestive disease and to quantify their association with poor health.

METHODS: We conducted an analysis of Health and Retirement Study data from 2008 to 2016, a nationally representative panel study of participants 50 years and older and their spouses. Bivariate analyses examined differences in loneliness, depression, and social isolation among patients with and without a digestive disease. We also examined the relationship between these factors and health.

RESULTS: We identified 3979 (56.0%) respondents with and 3131 (44.0%) without a digestive disease. Overall, 60.4% and 55.6% of respondents with and without a digestive disease reported loneliness (P < .001), 12.7% and 7.5% reported severe depression (P < .001), and 8.9% and 8.7% reported social isolation (P = NS), respectively. After adjusting for covariates, those with a digestive disease were more likely to report poor or fair health than those without a digestive disease (odds ratio [OR], 1.25; 95% CI, 1.11-1.41). Among patients with a digestive disease, loneliness (OR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.22-1.69) and moderate and severe depression (OR, 2.93; 95% CI, 2.48-3.47; and OR, 8.96; 95% CI, 6.91-11.63, respectively) were associated with greater odds of poor or fair health.

CONCLUSIONS: Older adults with a digestive disease were more likely than those without a digestive disease to endorse loneliness and moderate to severe depression and these conditions are associated with poor or fair health. Gastroenterologists should feel empowered to screen patients for depression and loneliness symptoms and establish care pathways for mental health treatment.

DOI10.1016/j.cgh.2023.08.027
Citation Key13557
PubMed ID37689253