To assess the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for the prevention of depression in older people.METHOD:
Systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective controlled trials.RESULTS:
Thirty studies were included. Overall, psychosocial interventions had a small but statistically significant effect on depressive symptoms (17 trials, standardized mean difference = -0.17, 95% CI = -0.31 to -0.03). In comparison with no-intervention controls, social activities were effective in reducing depressive symptoms, but results should be interpreted with caution due to the small number of trials. No statistically significant effect on depressive symptoms was found for physical exercise, skill training, reminiscence, or for multicomponent interventions.DISCUSSION:
Psychosocial interventions have a small but statistically significant effect in reducing depressive symptoms among older adults. The current evidence base for psychosocial interventions for primary prevention of depression in older people is weak, and further trials warranted especially for the most promising type of interventions evaluated, that is, social activities.