Although research suggests depression is common among individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD), it is unclear how to best assess depression in PD (dPD). We wanted to examine the prevalence of dPD using different definitions of depression, as well as examine factors associated with dPD.
One hundred fifty-eight individuals (68% male; age 66.8 ± 9.6 SD) with a primary diagnosis of PD were assessed for depression using the Harvard Department of Psychiatry/National Depression Screening Day Scale (HANDS) in an outpatient setting at the Movement Disorders Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital. We defined depression using 4 thresholds based on the HANDS and whether or not an individual was ever on an antidepressant regimen. We also examined potential predictors of the presence of dPD.
The prevalence of depression among study participants ranged from 11% to 57%, depending on which of the 4 definitions of depression was applied. Younger age and longer duration of PD predicted a relatively higher prevalence of depression. Having a history of depression prior to onset of PD also was predictive of dPD.
Depression appears to be relatively common among individuals with PD, and history of depression, younger age, and longer PD duration may be factors associated with dPD.
Keywords: age, depression, Parkinson’s disease, prevalence, rating scales, severity of illness index