Depression is the second leading cause of disability worldwide, and is associated with substantial functional impairment and poor health implications in older adults. These adverse outcomes are exacerbated in older adults who exhibit comorbid depression and cerebrovascular burden (CVB). Given that the population of older adults is projected to double by year 2050, a process model of the development of depression in later-life and a subsequent clear delineation of the relationship between CVB and depression is paramount. One explanation of this process of disease development is the vascular depression theory, however alternative hypotheses have not been exhaustively falsified and the literature consists of methodological barriers that produce potentially unreliable results. The goals of this thesis are (1) to examine the interrelationship between CVB and depressive symptomatology from mid-life to later-life, and (2) to assess a potential genetic modifier of the CVB/depressive symptomatology relationship. Participants were drawn from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which represents the 1957 graduating class from Wisconsin high schools. Data was drawn from three waves (1993, 2004, and 2011), spanning 18 years. Study 1 utilized a dual-change model to evaluate the relationship between CVB and depressive symptomatology from mid-life to later-life. Results indicated that depressive symptomatology at both follow-up waves was predicted by earlier depressive symptomatology. Prior CVB significantly predicted future depressive symptomatology in both 2004 and 2011. Depressive symptomatology in 2004 significantly predicted CVB in 2011. Thus, CVB significantly predicted future depressive symptomatology even after accounting for prior depressive symptomatology. Study 2 utilized a repeated-measures ANOVA and a moderated path structural model to evaluate the moderating effect of ApoE carriage on the relationship between CVB and depressive symptomatology. Results indicated that ApoE carriage has no significant main effect on depressive symptomatology, nor is it a significant moderator of the relationship between CVB and depressive symptomatology. Overall findings strongly support the vascular depression theory, and do not implicate ApoE carriage in the manifestation of depressive symptomatology. Future research should longitudinally evaluate the relationship between CVB and depressive symptomatology across a greater number of defined time points and with a more diverse sample. Lastly, future research should continue to identify genetic risk factors that influence the development of detrimental disease processes.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Clinical Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Scott, Rosanna, "Cerebrovascular Burden and Depression: Examining a Process Model of Geriatric Developmental Psychopathology" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4933.