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The objective of our study was to identify outcomes reported in trials for older adults with depression, and describe outcome heterogeneity.
Study Design and Setting
We searched four databases to identify trials assessing any intervention for major depressive disorder among older adults published between 2011 and 2021. We grouped reported outcomes thematically and mapped them onto core outcome areas (physiological/clinical, life impact, resource use, adverse events, and death), and used descriptive analysis to summarize outcome heterogeneity.
There were 434 total outcomes reported by 49 included trials, which were measured using 135 different outcome measurement instruments and grouped into 100 unique outcome terms. Most outcome terms mapped to the physiological/clinical core area (47%), followed by life impact (42%). Over half of all terms (53%) were reported by only a single study. The majority of trials (n=31/49) reported a single, discernable primary outcome. The most commonly reported outcome, “depressive symptom severity” was assessed by 36 studies using 19 different outcome measurement instruments.
There is substantial heterogeneity in the outcomes and outcome measurement instruments used in geriatric depression trials. A standard set of outcomes and accompanying measurement tools is necessary to facilitate comparison and synthesis of trial findings.
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Accepted: March 1, 2023
Received in revised form: February 17, 2023
Received: November 25, 2022
Publication stageIn Press Journal Pre-Proof
Outcome heterogeneity in geriatric depression trials
Target Journal: Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
PROSPERO registration number: CRD42021244753
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