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International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry


Geisel School of Medicine


Arthritis and depressive symptoms often interact and negatively influence one another to worsen mental and physical health outcomes. Better characterization of arthritis rates among older adults with different levels of depressive symptoms is an important step toward informing mental health professionals of the need to detect and respond to arthritis and related mental health complications. The primary objective is to determine arthritis rates among US older adults with varying degrees of depression. Using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011 to 2014 data (N = 4792), we first identified participants aged ≥50 years. Measures screened for depressive symptoms and self‐reported doctor‐diagnosed arthritis. Weighted logistic regression models were conducted.

Prevalence of arthritis was 55.0%, 62.9%, and 67.8% in participants with minor, moderate, and severe depression, respectively. In both unadjusted and adjusted regression models, a significant association between moderate depression and arthritis persisted. There were also significant associations between minor and severe depression with arthritis. Arthritis is commonly reported in participants with varying degrees of depression. This study highlights the importance of screening for and treating arthritis‐related pain in older adults with depressive symptoms and the need for future geriatric psychiatry research on developing integrated biopsychosocial interventions for these common conditions.