OBJECTIVES: To ascertain whether depressive symptoms are associated with increased rates of bone loss at the hip. DESIGN: Population-based prospective cohort study. SETTING: Four clinical centers in the United States. PARTICIPANTS: Four thousand one hundred seventy-seven community-dwelling women, aged 69 and older, enrolled in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. MEASUREMENTS: Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Subjects were categorized as depressed if their GDS score was 6 or greater at the fourth examination. Bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip was measured using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry at the fourth and sixth examinations (average 4.4 years between examinations). Use of antidepressant medications was assessed by interview and verified from medication containers at the fourth and sixth examinations of the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. A computerized dictionary was used to categorize type of medication. RESULTS: In age-adjusted models, mean total hip BMD decreased 0.69%/year in 3,977 women with a GDS score of less than 6, compared with 0.96%/year in 200 women with a GDS score of 6 or greater (P<.01). Results were not substantially altered when adjusted for potential confounders and when users of antidepressants were excluded from the analysis. CONCLUSION: Depression, as defined by a GDS score of 6 or greater, was associated with an increased rate of bone loss at the hip in this cohort of older women. Clinicians should be aware of a possible increased rate of bone loss in older, depressed women.
- Bone mineral density