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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 83-89

A study of depression in medically ill elderly patients with respect to coping strategies and spirituality as a way of coping

1 Department of Psychiatry, Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Seth G.S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jahnavi Kedare
Department of Psychiatry, Seth G.S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2348-9995.152427

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Background: Medically ill elderly patients are more prone to develop depression. Faulty coping mechanisms increase the risk of developing depression. Spirituality is known to decrease this risk. Aim: This study was conducted to assess the prevalence of depression in medically ill elderly patients, coping strategies used and spirituality as a way of coping. A comparison was made between coping strategies used by depressed and nondepressed elderly patients with medical illnesses. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study carried out at a tertiary care hospital. A total of 100 consecutive patients were evaluated on Geriatric Depression Scale, Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations-21, and Spiritual Attitude Inventory. Results: Prevalence of depression was 72% among the medically ill elderly patients. Of those found to have depression, two third had mild depression and one-third had severe depression. On comparing coping and spirituality between depressed and nondepressed patients it was found that non depressed patients had better coping towards stressful situation, they used more of task oriented and avoidance based coping, whereas depressed patients used more of emotion oriented coping. Non-depressed patients were more spiritual when compared to depressed patients. Severity of depression positively correlated with emotion oriented coping mechanisms and it was negatively correlated with task and avoidance oriented coping mechanisms and spirituality in all four domains. Conclusion: The present study shows that 72% of medically ill elderly patients have depression and compared to those with one medical illness, the prevalence of depression is more among those who have 2 or more medical illnesses. Compared with those without depression, patients with depression more often used emotion based coping, less often used task and avoidance coping mechanisms and were less spiritual.

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