The importance of personality and life-events in anxious depression: from trait to state anxiety
SourceAging & Mental Health, 21, 11, (2017), pp. 1177-1183
Article / Letter to editor
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Aging & Mental Health
SubjectRadboudumc 0: Other Research RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
OBJECTIVES: Anxious depression is associated with severe impairment and bad prognoses. We hypothesize that recent life-events are associated with more anxiety in late-life depression and that this is conditional upon the level of certain personality traits. METHOD: Baseline data of the Netherlands Study of Depression in Older Persons (NESDO) were used. In 333 patients (>/=60 years) suffering from a major depressive disorder, anxiety was assessed with the BAI, personality traits with the NEO-FFI and the Mastery Scale, and life-events with the Brugha questionnaire. Multiple linear regression analyses were applied with anxiety severity as dependent and life-events and personality traits as independent variables. RESULTS: 147 patients (44.1%) had recently experienced one or more life-events. The presence of a life-event is not associated with anxiety (p = .161) or depression severity (p = .440). However, certain personality traits interacted with life-events in explaining anxiety severity. Stratified analyses showed that life-events were associated with higher anxiety levels in case of high levels of neuroticism and openness and low levels of conscientiousness or mastery. CONCLUSIONS: In the face of a life-event, personality traits may play a central role in increased anxiety levels in late-life depression.
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