Background: Many chronic diseases increase the risk of depressive symptoms, but few studies have examined whether these diseases also affect the composition of symptoms a person is likely to experience. As the risk and progression of depression may vary between chronic diseases, we used network analysis to examine how depression symptoms are connected before and after the diagnosis of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Methods: Participants (N = 7779) were from the longitudinal survey of the Health and Retirement Study. Participants were eligible if they had information on depression symptoms two and/or four years before and after the diagnosis of either diabetes, heart disease, cancer or stroke. We formed a control group with no chronic disease that was matched on age, sex and ethnic background to those with a disease. We constructed depression symptom networks and compared the overall connectivity of those networks, and depression symptom sum scores, for before and after the diagnosis of each disease.
Results: Depression symptom sum scores increased with the diagnosis of each disease. The connectivity of depression symptoms remained unchanged for all the diseases, except for stroke, for which the connectivity decreased with the diagnosis.
Limitations: Comorbidity with other chronic diseases was not controlled for as we focused on the onset of specific diseases.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that although the mean level of depression symptoms increases after the diagnosis of chronic disease, with most chronic diseases, these changes are not reflected in the network structure of depression symptoms.
- 3124 Neurologi och psykiatri