Somatic and anxiety symptoms of depression are associated with disability in late life depression

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: To assess the relationships of somatic and anxiety symptoms of depression with functional disability in a sample of older adults with late life depression. Method: Data were analyzed from 78 older adults aged 65–88 with current major depression. Somatic and anxiety symptoms from the 24-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) were summed to create variables measuring severity of these symptoms. Other symptoms of depression were also assessed using the remaining items of the HDRS. Current physical health burden was assessed using the Functional Comorbidity Index (FCI). Disability was measured with the Late Life Function and Disability Instrument (LLFDI) total limitation score. A linear regression analysis was performed to assess the association of somatic and anxiety symptoms with disability independent of other factors. Results: The model accounted for 26.6% of variance in disability, (F(6,51) = 3.1, p =.01). Somatic (B = −1.9, p =.004) and anxiety (B = −3.7, p =.04) symptoms of depression were significantly associated with disability. Other depressive symptoms and physical illness burden were not associated with disability. Discussion: In older adults with major depression, somatic and anxiety symptoms of depression are associated with disability. Identification and treatment to remission of these symptoms may improve functional outcomes among older depressed adults.


External organisations
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geriatrics


  • anxious symptoms, disability, Late life depression, somatic symptoms
Original languageEnglish
JournalAging and Mental Health
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019
Publication categoryResearch