Age-related characteristics of depression: A preliminary STAR*D report

Mustafa M. Husain, A. John Rush, Harold A. Sackeim, Stephen R. Wisniewski, Shawn M. McClintock, Nicoletta Craven, Joel Holiner, Jeff R. Mitchell, G. K. Balasubramani, Robert Hauger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Objective: Studies have shown that age is a determinant in the course of major depressive disorder. Age has been associated with depression severity; it has also been associated with varying depressive symptomatology. The authors explore the relationships between current age and depression severity, course of illness, presenting symptom features, and comorbid symptoms. Methods: Baseline clinical and sociodemographic information was collected on 1,498 participants enrolled in the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) Study. Five age cohorts (18-25, 26-35, 36-50, 51-65, and 66-75) were compared on both sociodemographic and clinical factors. Depressive symptoms were measured with the 30-item clinician-rated Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology. Results: Clinically meaningful differences were found among age cohorts on several clinical and depressive symptom features. Older patients (51-65 and 66-75) endorsed longer durations of illness, more major depressive episodes, a later age at onset of their first major depressive episode, and more general medical comorbidities. Older patients had more middle and terminal insomnia, less irritability, and less hypersomnia. They were less likely to hold negative views of themselves or of their future and were less likely to report previous suicide attempts. Older patients were less likely to endorse symptoms consistent with generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, and drug abuse. Conclusions: These cross-sectional data indicate that different age-cohorts present with varying sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, as well as general-medical and psychiatric comorbid conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-860
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Age-related characteristics of depression: A preliminary STAR*D report'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this