Too Busy for Depression

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Older African Americans are at high risk for depression, but rather than medicate symptoms, Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, Jeanine Parisi, PhD, and colleagues show that programs like Get Busy, Get Better (GBGB) can improve depressive symptoms, decrease functional disability, and enhance how individuals perceive their life as worth living. In the study “Valuation of Life as Outcome and Mediator of a Depression Intervention for Older African Americans: the Get Busy Get Better Trial,” researchers compared a group receiving GBGB (in-home care management, linkage to services, activation, and more) to those who did not. GBGB participants improved significantly in “valuing life,” which in turn accounted for 71 percent of the reductions in depressive symptoms. GBGB helps individuals engage in meaningful activities, reduce situational stress, and address unmet needs (financial concerns). The researchers conclude that appraising whether life is worth living is malleable through intervention and that depressive symptoms are impacted by one’s attachment to life.
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, April 2017

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