BACKGROUND: Although there is a growing literature on the adverse health outcomes related with negative ageing perceptions, studies on their association with mental disorders such as depression and anxiety are scarce. Thus, the aim of the current study was to prospectively assess the association between negative ageing perceptions and incident/persistent depression and anxiety using nationally representative data from Ireland.
METHODS: Data from two consecutive waves of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) were analysed. The analytical sample consisted of 6095 adults aged ≥50 years. Validated scales for negative ageing perceptions, depression, and anxiety were used. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to assess the association between negative ageing perceptions at baseline and the onset and persistence of depression and anxiety at two-year follow up.
RESULTS: After adjusting for potential confounders, negative ageing perceptions at baseline predicted the new onset of depression and anxiety at follow-up. Among those with depression or anxiety at baseline, negative ageing perceptions also predicted the persistence of these conditions at follow-up.
LIMITATIONS: Baseline data on negative ageing perceptions were used for the analysis and it is possible that scores could have changed over time.
CONCLUSIONS: Addressing negative perceptions towards ageing by developing interventions that activate positive ageing perceptions, and target societal attitudes by means of policy change, public campaigns, and community education programmes, may shift social perceptions and reduce the burden of depression and anxiety among the elderly.