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Journal of Business and Behavioral SciencesTwentieth Anniversary Issue 138 DEATH AND SERIOUS ILLNESS/INJURY (DSI/I) AND ITS INCREASED EFFECTS ON MAJOR DEPRESSION LEVELS WITHIN THE ELDERLY POPULATION: A MEDICAL MODEL APPROACH Ryan N. Schmidt Valdosta State University Jong Deuk Baek San Diego State University ABSTRACT: Depression is the leading cause of disability as measured by Years Lived with Disability (YLDs) and the fourth leading contributor to the global burden of disease in 2000. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans 65+ has tripled. Some type of disability, to include mental disability, was reported by 52% of older persons in 2002. The prevalence of major depression and a comprehensive medical measurement is needed given the drastic rise in the elderly population and their propensity to experience environmental death and/or serious illness and injury (DSI/I). The objective of the study was to analyze the likelihood of having major depression when experiencing DSI/I of a family member or close friend within the last twelve months. Specifically, this study utilized a medical model approach by positively screening the elderly sample while utilizing the exact criteria as outlined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).This study utilized secondary data analysis of the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). A cross-sectional stratified sampling design was required to evaluate those within the NESARC data set who were 65 years of age or older. The study identified that elderly people who had experienced either DSI/I of a close family member or friend within the past 12 months were 1.50 times more likely to have major depression than those who did not experience DSI/I of a close family member or friend within that same period. Moreover, elderly people who had experienced both DSI/I of a close family member or friend within the past 12 months were 1.68 times more likely to have major depression than those who did not experience DSI/I of a close family member or friend within that same period. INTRODUCTION Depression is a global disorder, which extends its reach to both the social and economic impact with disregard to geographic boundaries. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that depression is the leading cause of disability as measured by Years Lived with Disability (YLDs) and the fourth leading contributor to the global burden of disease in 2000 (“Report on Mental Illness,” 2001). By the year 2020, depression is projected to reach second place of the
Journal of Business and Behavioral SciencesTwentieth Anniversary Issue 139 ranking of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) calculated for all ages and for both sexes (“Report on Mental Illness,” 2001). Today, depression is already the second leading cause of DALYs in the age category of 15-44 years for both sexes combined (“Report on Mental Illness,” 2001). Additionally, the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses (NAMI) reports that four of the ten leading causes of disability

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