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Physical functioning among mid-life women: Associations with trajectory of depressive symptoms

Publication Abstract

Tomey, Kristin, MaryFran R. Sowers, Sioban D. Harlow, Mary Jannausch, Huiyong Zheng, and Joyce Bromberger. 2010. "Physical functioning among mid-life women: Associations with trajectory of depressive symptoms." Social Science and Medicine, 71(7): 1259-1267.

During midlife, physical functioning limitations emerge and depressive symptoms are highly prevalent. We examined the relationship between physical functioning and depressive symptoms in the Michigan Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN) cohort of mid-life women (n = 377). Seven performance-based physical functioning measures quantifying strength, balance, coordination, flexibility and range of motion and perceived physical functioning, assessed with the SF-36 physical functioning sub-score, were included. The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) identified concurrent depressive symptom trajectory from 2000/2001 through 2005/2006 and history of depressive symptoms from 1996/1997 through 1999/1900. Longitudinal mixed-effects regression modeling was used to evaluate relationships. Median age of participants was 50 years. As age increased, higher CES-D scores were associated with performance-based functions including slower timed walk sit-to-stand, and stair climb after adjusting for five-year history of depressive symptoms and relevant covariates. As age increased, those with higher CES-D scores were more likely to have perceived limitations in physical functioning, though the association was weak. History of depressive symptoms was not significant in any model. These findings suggest that higher concurrent depressive symptoms are modestly associated with slower movement and a perception of poorer functioning. In contrast, history of depressive symptoms played little or no role in current physical functioning of mid-life women. When evaluating physical function, women's current mental health status should be considered. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.06.037 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2937172. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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