Cognitive deficits and the course of major depression in a cohort of middle-aged and older community-dwelling adults

Ramin Mojtabai, Mark Olfson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To examine associations between cognitive deficits and persistent significant depressive symptoms at baseline and 2- and 4-year follow-ups in a sample of community-dwelling middle-aged and older adults. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING: A U.S. national prospective cohort study of middle-aged and older adults, the Health and Retirement Study. PARTICIPANTS: A sample of 661 participants of the 1996 wave of the Health and Retirement Study who met criteria for 12-month Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition, Revised major depression (MD). MEASUREMENTS: MD was assessed using the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview-Short Form. Persistent significant depressive symptoms were assessed using an eight-item version of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale. RESULTS: Cognitive deficits were associated with persistent significant depressive symptoms at follow-up. In a latent state-trait analysis, two stable and strongly correlated traits best explained variations in cognitive functioning and depressive symptoms across assessment points. CONCLUSION: Trait-like cognitive deficits commonly complicate the course of MD in community-dwelling middle-aged and older adults and may help to explain the persistent course of depressive symptoms in a large sub-group of adults with MD in this age range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1060-1069
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive deficits
  • Course of depression
  • Major depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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