The British Journal of Psychiatry
Long-term incidence of depression and predictors of depressive symptoms in older stroke survivors
Louise M. Allan, Elise N. Rowan, Alan J. Thomas, Tuomo M. Polvikoski, John T. O’Brien, Raj N. Kalaria
  • Declaration of interest




Depression is common and an important consequence of stroke but there is limited information on the longer-term relationship between these conditions.


To identify the prevalence, incidence and predictors of depression in a secondary-care-based cohort of stroke survivors aged over 75 years, from 3 months to up to 10 years post-stroke.


Depression was assessed annually by three methods: major depression by DSM-IV criteria, the self-rated Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and the observer-rated Cornell scale.


We found the highest rates, 31.7% baseline prevalence, of depressive symptoms with the GDS compared with 9.7% using the Cornell scale and 1.2% using DSM-IV criteria. Incidence rates were 36.9, 5.90 and 4.18 episodes per 100 person years respectively. Baseline GDS score was the most consistent predictor of depressive symptoms at all time points in both univariate and multivariate analyses. Other predictors included cognitive impairment, impaired activities of daily living and in the early period, vascular risk factor burden and dementia.


Our results emphasise the importance of psychiatric follow-up for those with early-onset post-stroke depression and long-term monitoring of mood in people who have had a stroke and remain at high risk of depression.


  • Funding

    Our work is supported by grants from the UK Medical Research Council (MRC, G0500247), Newcastle Centre for Brain Ageing and Vitality (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council and MRC, Lifelong Health and Wellbeing) and Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK). Tissue for this study was collected by the Newcastle Brain Tissue Resource, which is funded in part by a grant from the UK MRC (G0400074), by the Newcastle NIHR Biomedical Research Centre in Ageing and Age Related Diseases award to the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and by a grant from the Alzheimer’s Society and ARUK as part of the Brains for Dementia Research Project.

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