Depressed mood and cause-specific mortality: A 40-year general community assessment

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35 Scopus citations


Purpose: The current study describes how the excess mortality risk associated with depression translates into specific causes of death occurring during a 40-year follow-up period, with focus on deaths related to injuries, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Methods: Data come from a cross-sectional survey (Community Mental Health Epidemiology Study) conducted in the early 1970s in Washington County, Maryland. Random sampling for the survey resulted in 2762 interviews. For the current analyses, baseline depressed mood was linked to current participant vital status through the use of death certificates. Results: The relative subdistribution hazards for cardiovascular deaths (3.08 [1.74-5.45]) and fatal injuries (4.63 [1.76-12.18]) were significant during the entire 40-year period for young adults (18-39 years old at baseline). The relative subdistribution hazard for cardiovascular deaths during the first 15 years of follow-up was pronounced in elderly (≥65 years) males (2.99 [1.67-5.37]) subjects. There were no significant associations between depressed mood and cancer deaths. Conclusions: Individuals in the general community with depressed mood may be at increased risk of deaths as the result of cardiovascular disease and injury, even several decades after exposure assessment. Young adults with depressed mood appear to be particularly vulnerable to these associations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)638-643
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Death
  • Depression
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Mortality
  • Wounds and injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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