Depression prevalence and treatment among older home health services users in the United States

Xiaoling Xiang*, Margaret K. Danilovich, Kathryn Noth Tomasino, Neil Jordan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective The purpose of this study is to provide a nationally representative estimate of the rates of depression and depression treatment, and to explore factors associated with receipt of depression treatment, among older home health services users. Methods Older home health services users (n = 1666) were selected from 2008 to 2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Depression was measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire-2. Depression treatment included antidepressants use and receipt of mental health counseling or psychotherapy. Logistic regression was used to examine the association of individual characteristics and receipt of depression treatment. Results Current depression affected 23% of older home health services users. Less than 40% of those who screened positive for depression reported receiving depression treatment. Among those who received treatment, virtually all (99.8%) reported receiving antidepressants and only 9.5% reported receiving psychotherapy. Among older home health services users with current depression, older age and non-Hispanic black race were associated with lower odds of receiving depression treatment whereas having cognitive impairment was positively associated with receiving depression treatment. Conclusion Depression affects a substantial proportion of older home health services users and is undertreated. Home health services settings may be important platforms to improve depression care among older adults. Future research is needed to develop optimal strategies for integrating depression assessment and treatment in home health services settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-157
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Depression
  • Home health services
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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