We examined the relationship between socioeconomic status and response to treatment for depression among older adults.
Secondary analysis of pooled data from the open-label phase of 2 National Institute of Mental Health–funded clinical trials of nortriptyline hydrochloride or paroxetine combined with interpersonal psychotherapy (N = 248). We used Cox proportional hazards regression analyses to examine the association between socioeconomic status, indexed by census tract median annual household income and the subject’s educational attainment, and treatment response and remission according to the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. The association between socioeconomic status and suicidality or depressed mood reported at each week of treatment was examined using repeated-measures generalized logit models.
Subjects residing in middle-income census tracts were significantly more likely to respond to antidepressant treatment than subjects residing in low-income census tracts (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18-2.75]). Throughout the course of antidepressant treatment, subjects in the middle- and high-income census tracts were significantly less likely to report suicidal ideation (adjusted odds ratios, 0.48 [95% CI, 0.27-0.94] and 0.39 [95% CI, 0.16-0.94], respectively). No association was found between socioeconomic status and remission.
Residence in a low-income census tract is associated with a less favorable course of depression among older adults receiving a combination of pharmacologic and psychosocial treatment.