The association between hope and mortality in homebound elders

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Abstract

Objective

Despite high rates of mortality and depression, there is limited knowledge of how depressive symptoms, especially feeling of hopefulness, affect mortality in the homebound elderly.

Methods

We conducted a secondary analysis of data from a community sample of 1034 adults, age 60 years and older. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale was used to evaluate the mood symptoms and feeling of hopefulness at baseline. The death data were collected within an 8-year follow-up period. Analysis of variance and Chi-square were used to compare the clinical conditions among the groups of individuals who feel hopeful always, sometimes, and rarely. Logistic regression was used to explore the association between the hopefulness about the future and mortality as an outcome.

Results

In the 8-year follow-up period, frequency of feeling hopeful, but not other individual depressive symptoms, was associated with mortality rate. The mortality rate among those who always, sometimes, and rarely felt hopeful were 21.6%, 26.4%, and 35.7%, respectively (P = 0.002). Logistic regression also confirmed that individuals who rarely feel hopeful had higher odds of decease within the 8-year follow-up period than those who always felt hopeful (OR = 1.74, CI = 1.14–2.65) after adjusting for age and medical conditions.

Conclusions

Baseline hopefulness predicts mortality outcome among the homebound elderly in the community. Identifying individuals who are depressed with hopelessness in the elderly and providing early intervention may improve the mortality rate. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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