Relationship between depression and agitation in nursing home residents.

J. Cohen-Mansfield*, M. S. Marx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Nursing staff and social workers independently rated the manifestations of agitation and depression in 408 nursing home residents. The role of dementia was also investigated. The relationship between agitation (3 factors: aggressive, physically nonaggressive, and verbally agitated) and depression (2 factors: social functioning and depressed affect) was examined. While residents who manifested either aggressive behavior (e.g., hitting, cursing) or physically nonaggressive behaviors (e.g., general restlessness, pacing) tended to be more cognitively impaired, aggressive behaviors were negatively related to the social functioning aspect of depression, and physically nonaggressive behaviors were not related to either aspect of depression. Verbally agitated individuals were more cognitively intact and displayed depressed affects. It is conceivable that depressed affect was perceived only in verbally agitated residents since these persons were able to communicate their depression to caregivers. This result raises questions concerning the meaningfulness of depression measurements in noncommunicative residents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages6
JournalComprehensive gerontology. Section B, Behavioural, social, and applied sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1988
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Mental HealthR01MH040758


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