Depression in veterans with Parkinson's disease: Frequency, co-morbidity, and healthcare utilization

Peijun Chen, Helen C. Kales, Daniel Weintraub, Frederic C. Blow, Lan Jiang, Rosalinda V. Ignacio, Alan M. Mellow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the frequency of depression in Parkinson's disease (PD) in routine clinical care, and to examine its association with co-morbid psychiatric and medical conditions and healthcare utilization. Methods: Depression diagnoses and healthcare utilization data for all male veterans with PD age 55 or older seen in fiscal year 2002 (n=41,162) were analyzed using Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national databases. Frequencies of co-morbid disorders and healthcare utilization were determined for depressed and non-depressed patients; associations with depression were examined using multivariate logistic regression models. Results: A depression diagnosis was recorded for 18.5% of PD patients, including major depression in 3.9%. Depression decreased in frequency and severity with increasing age. In multivariate logistic regression models, depressed patients had significantly greater psychiatric and medical co-morbidity, including dementia, psychosis, stroke, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than non-depressed patients (all p < 0.01). Depressed PD patients were also significantly more likely to have medical (OR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.25-1.44) and psychiatric hospitalizations (OR = 2.14, 95% CI = 1.83-2.51), and had more outpatient visits (p < 0.01), than non-depressed PD patients in adjusted models. Conclusion: Depression in PD in non-tertiary care settings may not be as common or as severe as that seen in specialty care, though these findings also may reflect under-recognition or diagnostic imprecision. The occurrence of depression in PD is associated with greater psychiatric and medical co-morbidity, and greater healthcare utilization. These findings suggest that screening for depression in PD is important and should be embedded in a comprehensive psychiatric, neuropsychological, and medical evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-548
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Co-morbidity
  • Depression
  • Frequency
  • Healthcare utilization
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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