Objective: The authors used data from a population based prospective cohort study to determine if depressive symptoms predicted incidence of unintentional injury.
Methods: The Keokuk County Rural Health Study, based in Iowa, is a prospective cohort study of health status that includes injury outcomes. Depressive symptoms were measured using the 11-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale at the beginning of the study on 1493 participants. Quarterly follow up phone calls were made to measure injury incidence.
Results: 471 injuries were reported for an overall injury rate of 9.8 per 100 person-years. Crude injury rates were significantly higher for those with depressive symptoms (p = 0.0003). Those with depressive symptoms had a 41% increased risk for injury after controlling for antidepressant medication use, gender, prior injury, income, and sleepiness (RR = 1.41, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.80). Depressive symptoms remained a risk factor for injury regardless of current antidepressant medication use (no medication use, RR = 1.43, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.88; medication use, RR = 1.31, 95% CI 0.76 to 2.26).
Conclusions: Depressive symptoms were found to be risk factors for unintentional injury. Medical practitioners should consider talking about safety with their patients, especially those reporting symptoms of depression, and recognize that an increased risk for injury remains until the depressive symptoms subside.
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Competing interests: none.
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