Exploring low mood and risk of dementia: the role of marital status and living situation

Photo: Linn Fryk

The aim of this study was to investigate whether low mood is related to an increased dementia risk and whether marital status and living situation can alter this association. Two NEAR population-based studies: the Kungsholmen Project (KP; n = 1,197) and the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen (SNAC-K; n= 1,402) were used to examine this. Low mood was obtained by self-report at the study start and new cases of dementia were collected over 9 years according to DSM-III-R (KP) and DSM-IV-TR (SNAC-K).

Increased dementia risk was found only in those without a partner or who lived alone
Low mood was related to a higher risk of dementia in both studies. However, an increased risk was detected only in those who did not have a partner or lived alone, but not among those who had a partner or lived with someone.

Being married and living with someone can buffer the negative effects of low mood on risk of dementia
Taken together, marital status and living situation have the possibility to buffer the harmful effects of low mood on dementia onset. Specific attention from health care should therefore target persons having low mood and who do not have a partner or live alone.

Photo: Linn Fryk

Reference: Sjöberg L, Fratiglioni L, Lövdén M, Wang HX. Low mood and risk of dementia: the role of marital status and living situation. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020;28(1):33-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2019.08.014.