The association between depressive disorders and health care utilization: Results from the São Paulo Ageing and Health Study (SPAH)

Hsiang Huang, Paulo R. Menezes, Simone A. Da Silva, Karen Tabb, Andres Barkil-Oteo, Marcia Scazufca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Although depressive disorders are associated with increased health care utilization in the elderly living in high-income countries, few studies have examined this relationship in Latin America. Method: The present study is part of the São Paulo Ageing and Health Study, a population-based epidemiological study of mental disorders in 2072 low-income adults ≥ 65 years old living in São Paulo, Brazil. Depressive disorders defined as major depressive disorder (MDD) and clinically relevant depressive symptoms (CRDS) were assessed with the Geriatric Mental State and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory. We examined the association between depressive disorders/symptoms and health care utilization (outpatient visits, hospital admissions and medication use in the past 3 months) using count models. Results: The prevalence of MDD and CRDS was 4.9% and 21.4%, respectively. In the fully adjusted model, older adults with MDD were 36% more likely to have one more outpatient visit (RM: 1.36, 95% CI: 1.11-1.67), while older adults with CRDS were 14% more likely to have one more outpatient visit (RM: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.02-1.28). Elderly individuals with MDD had a prevalence of hospital admissions in the previous 3 months that was twice that of those without depression (PR=2.02, 95% CI: 1.09-3.75). Significant differences were not found for medication use. Conclusion: Among low-income older adults living in Brazil, those with MDD are more likely to have a recent hospital admission and outpatient service use than those without depression. Future studies are needed to examine the effectiveness of depression treatments for this population in order to both decrease the burden of illness as well as to minimize health care utilization related to depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-202
Number of pages4
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Ageing
  • Brazil
  • Depression
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Health services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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