Depression and cognitive impairment in the elderly: a multicentre study

P. Kielholz, C. Adams, P. Bech, JP P. Bocksberger, A. Crombecque, G. de Girolamo, K. Fayolle, E. Holsboer, H. Katschnig, A. Korten, A. Küng, JW W. Meyer, W. Pöldinger, L. Prilipko, I. Reubi, N. Sartorius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study, conducted in collaboration between the Departments of Psychiatry in Swiss Universities and the World Health Organization, had two main goals: to develop assessment methods which could subsequently be used in the Swiss centres in a standard manner; and to make arrangements for continuing collaboration between the centres in Switzerland and the acquisition of new knowledge about the distinctions between depression and cognitive impairment. For this aim, three different groups of elderly patients of either sex were selected during the period of November 1989 to July 1991 for inclusion in the study. The first two groups included the first ten patients of either sex over 60 years of age consecutively contacting the participating institutions and showing depression with or without clinically significant symptoms of cognitive impairment; the control group included patients showing no depression or clinically significant symptoms of cognitive impairment. A total of 125 patients were included in the initial evaluation, 69 of which were reassessed at a seven-month follow up (on average). Each patient was administered a number of clinician-rated or self-report instruments for the assessment of depression, cognitive impairment, disabilities, physical status and onset of disorders. The study has shown that a variety of instruments can be used for the reliable assessment of depression or cognitive impairment in the elderly; but the instruments for the assessment of depression differentiate only poorly between patients with or without cognitive impairment. Because of the importance of identifying both depressed and cognitively impaired patients among the elderly, different assessment instruments targeted at the different symptom clusters need to be administered simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-74
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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