Research Article  |   September 2014
Activities and Adaptation in Late-Life Depression: A Qualitative Study
Author Affiliations
  • Mary Lou Leibold, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, 5012 Forbes Tower, Pittsburgh, PA 15260; mleibold@pitt.edu
  • Margo B. Holm, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, ABDA, is Professor Emerita, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Ketki D. Raina, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Charles F. Reynolds, III, MD, is Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Joan C. Rogers, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Mental Health / Productive Aging
Research Article   |   September 2014
Activities and Adaptation in Late-Life Depression: A Qualitative Study
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2014, Vol. 68, 570-577. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.011130
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2014, Vol. 68, 570-577. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.011130
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. We sought to understand activity choices of older adults when they were depressed.

METHOD. Each community-dwelling participant (n = 27) completed one semistructured interview while in recovery for at least 3 mo. but less than 7 mo. Transcripts were coded to identify relevant themes.

RESULTS. Six themes emerged that explained activities participants continued while depressed, and four themes described activities they stopped.

CONCLUSION. Older adults maintained many instrumental activities of daily living while depressed, and some actively adapted activities so they could continue them. Some intentionally stopped activities to direct limited energy to their highest priority activities. To guide effective intervention, it is critical for occupational therapy practitioners to complete a client-centered qualitative assessment to understand what and, most important, why activities are continued or stopped. Each theme for activities continued and activities stopped lends itself to intervention strategies.