The British Journal of Psychiatry


Physical illness at referral and subsequent mortality were studied in a group of elderly patients with depression, and compared with age/sex-matched controls. The depressed group was significantly less well at first interview, and had a significantly higher 4-year mortality. When the effect of physical illness was controlled, the depressed patients (particularly the men) still had a significantly higher 4-year mortality, suggesting that the greater mortality in the depressed group was not due to differences in physical health alone.