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The trajectory of negative mood and depressive symptoms over two decades

      Highlights

      • In a longitudinal sample of women transitioning from mid-life to late-life, negative mood and depressive symptoms were seen to decrease.
      • Mid-life women reported more depressive symptoms than late-life women.
      • Assessing negative mood in longitudinal samples is a useful independent measure.

      Abstract

      Objective

      Research aimed at understanding the temporal characteristics of depressive symptoms and negative mood in an older female population is lacking, despite the relationship between the two factors being well established. The aim of this study was to examine the characteristics of negative mood scores and depressive symptom scores in a longitudinal sample of women transitioning from mid-life to late life.

      Study design

      This study was a longitudinal assessment of variables drawn from an epidemiological prospective study of women’s healthy ageing. Scores were analysed using General Linear Mixed Models.

      Main outcome measures

      Negative mood scores derived from the Affectometer 2 were assessed at 11 time points spanning 20 years. Depressive symptom scores were assessed using the Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESD), administered in 2002, 2004 and 2012.

      Results

      Mean negative mood scores reduced significantly between 1992 and 2012, as did mean CESD scores between 2002 and 2012. Mean negative mood scores reduced by 0.007 for each year of increasing age. For depressive symptoms, a reduction in mean score of 0.15 was found for each year of increase in age.

      Conclusion

      Depressive symptom scores and negative mood scores decreased significantly over time.

      Keywords

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