Depression symptoms in older adults with cancer: A multilevel longitudinal study

TitleDepression symptoms in older adults with cancer: A multilevel longitudinal study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsSchapmire, TJ, Faul, AC
JournalJournal of Psychosocial Oncology
ISSN Number0734-7332
KeywordsCancer screenings, Depressive symptoms

Objective: Data from the Health and Retirement Study were used to test a conceptual model integrating stress and coping, conservation of resources, and life-course theories, to investigate predictors of depression symptoms over 8 years among a nationally representative sample of older adults aged 50–91 years. The main investigative questions were: (1) Do older adults with cancer have a different 8-year symptomatic depression trajectory than those without cancer? (2) Do the differences in life-course factors, internal, external, and health-related resources within and between older adults have a differential effect on 8-year symptomatic depression trajectories for individuals with and without a cancer diagnosis? Methods: We used a two-level longitudinal panel design to test a multilevel growth model. We examined individual differences in depression symptoms between 2000 and 2008, and tested multiple potential predictors. All those with a first diagnosis of cancer in 1998–2000 were included in the study (n = 200) together with a representative subsample of all noncancer cases (n = 1,190). Results: Significant two-way interaction effects were detected between having cancer and the absence of spouse/partner in the home, and cancer and lower life expectancy; each resulted in higher probabilities of depression. A significant three-way interaction effect was detected between cancer, gender, and social support; women with a cancer history and low social support had the highest probability of depression. Conclusion: Assessment and intervention in the “survivorship” phase of cancer should target older adults with higher levels of depression early in the cancer experience, those with no partner present in home, those with lower life expectancy, and women with low social support.

Short TitleJournal of Psychosocial Oncology
Citation Key9055
PubMed ID28121244