Objective: Theoretical models that have guided the study of later-life depression include the vascular depression hypothesis, depression-executive dysfunction syndrome, and the CaR-FA-X model. Evidence suggests these can be integrated into a single developmental model of disordered mood (and its associated overgeneral memory feature) in later-life to delineate a mechanism of the vascular depression effect and identify modifiable intervention targets. Methods: In older adults, four serial mediation models evaluated the relationships between (1) vascular burden and depressive symptoms via executive control and rumination, and (2) vascular burden and autobiographical memory specificity (AMS) via executive control and rumination. In younger adults, four simple mediation models were conducted to compare results to older adults, including models assessing the relationships between (1) executive control and depressive symptoms via rumination, and (2) executive control and AMS via rumination. Bias-corrected bootstrapping was employed throughout. Results: Older adult n=56; younger adult n=63. Older adult serial mediation models demonstrated significant individual relationships between a working memory measure and depressive symptoms, as well as between rumination and depressive symptoms. The vascular depression effect neared significance. No other direct or indirect effects were supported. In younger adults, rumination was significantly associated with depressive symptoms; all other hypothesized relationships were not significant. Conclusions: Model 1, evaluating the impact of vascular burden on depressive symptoms in older adults via working memory and rumination, respectively, was the most effective in integrating vascular depression, DED, and CaR-FA-X. However, there was not support for a vascular depression mechanism. Null results in this sample could be attributable to inadequate power or measurement error. Clinically, results promote interventions that target older adults presenting with depression, executive dysfunction, or rumination, independently or combined.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Clinical Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Scott, Rosanna, "Cognitive and Vascular Risk Factors for Depression: Testing an Integrated Theoretical Framework" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6762.