Introduction: Depression is a common condition among the elderly. Studies have shown that approximately 6 million Americans aged 65 years and above are suffering late-life depression (Caserella, 2022). It is usually confusing to differentiate late-life depression from other conditions due to multiple illnesses in this age group (Caserella, 2022). This paper will critically appraise two studies on the risk factors for late-life depression. It will compare the methodologies, findings, and implications in nursing practice.
Background of the study
The first research is “Risk factors for adult depression: Adverse childhood experiences and personality functioning” (Dagnino et al., 2022). The main objective of the research was to” explore the relationship between risk factors for depression, personality functioning, and depressive symptomatology” (Dagnino et al., 2022). The researchers used a descriptive cross-section design and self-report questionnaire to obtain data on study participants’ education level and socioeconomic status (Dagnino et al., 2022). The purpose of the study was to explore the impact and mechanisms of risk factors associated with late-life depression.
The second research is “Risk factors for late-life depression: a prospective cohort study among older women” (Chang et al., 2022). The study aimed to “examine a wide range of potential predisposing factors and to estimate individual and joint contributions to risk of late-life depression in women” (Chang et al., 2022). The purpose of the study was to identify major risk factors both social, behavioral and health with its trend in late-life depression. The researchers used a structured questionnaire regarding social characteristics, medical and lifestyle history to obtain data. The study question was; what are the risk factors for late-life depression?
My picot question is: How effective are somatic treatments compared to antidepressants in managing depression during and after a hospital stay.
In both studies, the researchers focused on risk factors of late-life depression. The first studies “emphasized the importance of incorporating risk factors and vulnerability factors in understanding depression” (Dagnino et al., 2022). Researchers in the second study found how late-life depression can be reduced by increasing exercise, intervening in sleeping difficulties, and pain (Chang et al., 2022).
My Picot question is based on the management of late-life depression. Both studies have given the best possible practices to counter late-life depression. Identifying the risk factors and incorporating them with vulnerability factors will provide the best possible solution for managing late-life depression.
Method of study
Survey as a research methodology tool is used to collect, analyze and interpret data (McCompes, 2022). In the first study, the researchers used a descriptive cross-sectional design, while in the second, they used survey forms to collect data from patients. For a survey, a broad range of data can be collected from a large number of respondents (McCompes, 2022). The major limitation of the survey is respondents might be uncomfortable providing responses that are presented unfavorably.
In a descriptive cross-sectional study design, researchers can collect data from a large pool of participants at a given time (McCompes, 2022). It is relatively cheap and less time-consuming. The main limitation of the descriptive cross-sectional design is that it cannot explain or analyze behavior over a while.
Results of the study
In the first study, the researchers found that physical illness and low level of education were linked to depression. Also, “the most significant predictor of depressive symptomatology was adverse childhood experiences (ACE), and this relationship was mediated by personality functioning” (Dagnino et al., 2022). This indicates that most patients presented with adverse childhood experiences suffered personality functioning deficiency, increasing the likelihood of developing depressive symptoms.
In the second study, the researchers found poor physical health, stressors, and unhealthy behaviors are linked to increased late-life depression (Dagnino et al., 2022). Also, they discovered these model predictors account for 60% of the total new cases of late-life depression, and physical limitation is the most significant risk factor (Dagnino et al., 2022). Furthermore, the studies indicated more physical exercise and enough sleep is essential in preventing new late-life depression cases (Dagnino et al., 2022).
The implication of the studies to nursing practice
Health care providers need to inquire about past medical histories of individuals suffering from late-life depression. From a clinical perspective, it is essential to know the risk factors and vulnerabilities underlying symptomatology ( for this case, personality functioning) in managing late-life depression (Dagnino et al., 2022). The knowledge helps the health care providers to use the approach that addresses symptomatic manifestation of the patient and adopt interventions conducive to the patient’s profile, enhancing patient-centered treatment. Additionally, studies have demonstrated the link between past medical history and current mental health state (Dagnino et al., 2022).
The results in the second research emphasize the importance of early interventions in managing late-life depression. “Optimizing primary care approaches to intervene early or to prevent sleep problems and pain before reaching clinical manifestations and to promote exercise appears a logical step for late-life depression prevention” (Dagnino et al., 2022). The key findings of this study were how difficulties in sleep, pain, and lack of physical activities contribute to late-life depression (Dagnino et al., 2022).
Depression is a complex health condition that requires integrated management and several interventions (Goldstein et al.,2017). There is no one proven intervention for managing depression. As per my COHOT question, I anticipate the combination of antidepressants and somatic interventions will be the best treatment model for late-life depression.
The researchers in the two studies have demonstrated how a treatment combination of antidepressants and somatic interventions is not enough in managing depression. To develop the appropriate treatment plan, there is a need to dig deep into patients’ social and medical histories to identify possible risk factors of depression (Dagnino et al., 2022).
The second study has indicated how poor physical health, stressors, and unhealthy behaviors are linked to increased late-life depression (Dagnino et al., 2022). Apart from using antidepressants and somatic interventions in managing cases of depression, it is crucial to focus on the patient’s physical health, lifestyle, and social stressors. This will better the prognosis and maybe eliminate the underlying cause of depression.
Both studies have demonstrated how physical health is linked to mental health. There is a need to explore the possible risks factors for depression when managing it. Limited physical activities, social stressors, lack of sleep, pain, and a low level of education are the main risk factors of depression (Dagnino et al., 2022).
Caserella, J. (2022). Depression in Older Adults. WebMD. Retrieved 12 January 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-elderly.
Chang, S., Pan, A., Kawachi, I., & Okereke, O. (2022). Risk factors for late-life depression: A prospective cohort study among older women. Retrieved 12 January 2022, from. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455056/
Dagnino, P., Ugarte, M., Morales, F., González, S., Saralegui, D., & Ehrenthal, J. (2022). Risk Factors for Adult Depression: Adverse Childhood Experiences and Personality Functioning. Retrieved 12 January 2022, from. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.594698/full
Goldstein, C. M., Gathright, E. C., & Garcia, S. (2017). Relationship between depression and medication adherence in cardiovascular disease: the perfect challenge for the integrated care team. Patient preference and adherence, 11, 547. DOI:10.2147/PPA.S127277
McCompes, S. (2022). Descriptive research. Scribbr. Retrieved 11 January 2022, from https://www.scribbr.com/methodology/descriptive-research/
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