Interventions focused on social activities significantly decrease depressive symptoms among older adults. This is the results from a recent study.

– Meaningful social activities adapted to the older adults’ individual needs and abilities should be recognized in the planning of older care, says Anna Forsman, PhD student at The Nordic School of Public Health.

Depression is the most prevalent mental health disorder among older adults and with the ageing population constantly increasing; this is a public health issue that needs to be prioritized. Psychosocial interventions have a significant effect in preventing depressive symptoms among older people aged 65 years or older. Various forms of psychosocial interventions with the aim to prevent depression and promote mental health among older people have been compared in the systematic review.

– Looking at different forms of psychosocial interventions, social activities are the most promising in regard to improving the mental health of older adults, says Anna Forsman.
In addition to the effect shown for social activities, no significant effect could be found for interventions focused on physical exercise, skill training, support groups, reminiscence, or interventions with combined content. Her systematic review and meta-analysis is based on systematic searches in 11 electronic databases up until October 2009. The aim was to collect and evaluate evidence-based knowledge and good examples on how to prevent the onset of depression and promote the mental health among older people.

The research was conducted within the EU financed project DataPrev, the aim of which is to evaluate evidence-based interventions for mental health promotion and mental disorder prevention across the lifespan.

Title: Psychosocial Interventions for the Prevention of Depression in Older Adults: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Link to article:

PhD student Anna Forsman Nordic School of Public Health
Tel: +358 6 323 1734