Depression and PTSD as Predictors of Dementia and Other Cognitive Disorders among Veterans based on Race and Sex
University of Kansas
Psychology & Research in Education
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In the literature, depression (especially major depressive disorder [MDD]) and posttraumatic disorder (PTSD) have been known to significantly increase individuals’ risk for dementia. Dementia affects 5 to 7 percent of the population across the world. Compared to the general U.S. population, the Veteran population experiences significantly greater risk factors associated with dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment. As this population continues to age and diversify in the upcoming years, risk factors specific to their circumstances must be examined. Importantly, similar patterns of health disparities that persist in the general population among men, women, and different racial groups, also exist among the Veteran population. Thus, despite minimization of financial barriers in VA healthcare systems, there are still certain groups with a greater likelihood of developing certain diseases. The aim of this study was to examine MDD and PTSD as predictors of dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment (cognitive impairment not demented [CIND]) among Veterans aged ≥ 60 years (N = 4,800) with sex and race analyzed as potential moderators. Hierarchical and backward logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine significant predictors of dementia/CIND. When controlling for the other, a history of MDD and PTSD both were associated with almost double the risk for developing dementia/CIND. Moreover, when a history of MDD was indicated, Black Veterans’ risk of dementia/CIND increased almost twofold. Additional findings and implications are also discussed.
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