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Browsing by Author "Mikkola, Sini"

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  • Mikkola, Sini (2023)
    Aim. Depression weakens people's ability to function, affecting, for example, their ability to take care of themselves and maintain social relationships. In addition, depression has been found to be connected to impaired physical functioning. However, studies have mostly focused on the level of depression syndrome, even though specific depressive symptoms have been found to have different associations with, for example, functional capacity and risk factors. The aim of this study was to find out whether depressive symptoms have different associations with impaired physical functioning, regardless of the level of overall depression, and whether symptom-specific associations are stronger with somatic than with other symptoms. The associations were measured separately in relation to the two domains of physical functioning: physical disability and physical activity. In addition, I aimed to find out, whether the associations between physical functioning and depression symptoms differ depending on gender or the number of somatic diseases. Methodology. The study sample (n=5533) consisted of the US NHANES 2017–2018 cohort. Depression was assessed with the PHQ-9 questionnaire, physical disability with the PFQ questionnaire and physical activity with the PAQ questionnaire. The associations between specific depressive symptoms and physical disability were studied using quasi-Poisson regression, and the associations between symptoms and levels of physical activity were studied using logistic regression analysis. Results and Conclusions. In the domains of physical functioning, I found symptom-specific effects for physical disability but not for physical activity. Among the somatic symptoms, fatigue (IRR=1.14, p<.001) and problems related to sleep (IRR=1.13, p<.001), and among the cognitive-affective symptoms, decreased interest in things previously perceived as interesting (IRR=1.07, p=.001) and concentration-related problems (IRR=1.06, p=.002) were associated with physical disability, regardless of the overall depression. Gender did not affect the relationship between depressive symptoms and physical functioning. For physical disability only, the symptom associations were stronger in those with more than one somatic illness than in those with no more than one somatic illness. Examining the associations of specific depressive symptoms regarding physical functioning can bring valuable information to the prevention and treatment of depression by, for example, helping to identify the most important treatment targets in terms of symptom maintenance for those depressed patients with impaired physical functioning.