Depression and incidence of frailty in older people from six Latin American countries

Matthew Prina, Brendon Stubbs, Nicola Veronese, Mariella Guerra, Carolina Kralj, Juan Llibre Rodriguez, Martin James Prince, Yu-Tzu Wu

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28 Citations (Scopus)
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Frailty and depression are highly comorbid conditions, but the casual direction is unclear and has not been explored in low- and middle-income countries. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential impact of depression on incident frailty in older people living in Latin America.

This study was based on a population-based cohort of 12,844 people aged 65 or older from six Latin American countries (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Peru), part of the 10/66 cohort study. Two types of frailty measures were used: a modified Fried frailty phenotype and a multidimensional frailty criterion, which included measures from cognition, sensory, nutrition, and physical dimensions. Depression was assessed using EURO-D and International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision criteria. A competing risk model was used to examine the associations between baseline depression and incidence of frailty in the 3–5 years of follow-up, accounting for sociodemographic and health factors and the competing event of frailty-free death.

Depression was associated with a 59% increased hazard of developing frailty using the modified Fried phenotype (subdistribution hazard ratio [SHR]: 1.59; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.40, 1.80) and 19% for multidimensional frailty (SHR: 1.19; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.33) after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, physical impairments, and dementia. The associations between depression and the multidimensional frailty criteria were homogenous across all the sites (Higgins I2 = 0%).

Depression may play a key role in the development of frailty. Pathways addressing the association between physical and mental health in older people need to be further investigated in future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1072-1079
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number10
Early online date29 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Depression
  • epidemiology
  • frailty
  • low- and middle-income countries
  • older age


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