Early mortality and years of potential life lost among veterans affairs patients with depression

Kara Zivin, Mark A. Ilgen, Paul Nelson Pfeiffer, Deborah E. Welsh, John McCarthy, Marcia Valenstein, Erin M. Miller, Khairul Islam, Helen C. Kales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


With the exception of Ms. Welsh, they are also with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, where Dr. Islam, currently with the Department of Mathematics at Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, was affiliated at the time that this report was written. Objective: Substantial literature documents excess and early mortality among individuals with serious mental illness, but there are relatively few data about mortality and depression. Methods: During fiscal year 2007, data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Death Index were used to calculate mean age of death and years of potential life lost (YPLL) associated with 13 causes of death among veterans with (N=701,659) or without (N=4,245,193) depression. Results: Compared with nondepressed patients, depressed patients died younger (71.1 versus 75.9) and had more YPLL (13.4 versus 10.2) as a result of both natural and unnatural causes. Depending on thecause of death, depressed patients died between 2.5 and 8.7 years earlier and had 1.5 to 6.1 YPLL compared with nondepressed patients. Conclusions: These findings have important implications for clinical practice, given that improved quality of care may be needed to reduce early mortality among depressed VA patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-826
Number of pages4
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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