Date of Award

Spring 5-1997

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Community & Environmental Health


Community Health Professions

Committee Director

Gail C. Grisetti

Committee Member

John L. Echternach

Committee Member

Joann T. Richardson

Committee Member

Colin E. Box

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.C48 N47


Depression afflicts 20% to 40% of people 65 and older. Depression in older adults is frequent and chronic. The challenge of a hospital stay and the knowledge of having a long term disability may increase the risk for a depressive episode. In today's health care environment older adults are being released from hospitals after a short length of stay and are frequently dependent on home health services for assistance with activities of daily living. Home health care aides are given the responsibility of providing these services to the older adult in the home environment and need to be aware of how to recognize the symptoms of depression. The purpose of the study was to create and analyze a depression recognition scale (DRS) for home health care aides. The DRS is a 32 item questionnaire which includes four subcategories: mood, cognition, socialization and somatic symptoms. The DRS is based on the Geriatric Depression Scale developed to asses older adults ability to recognize depression in themselves. Fifty three home health care aides completed the DRS and received a mean total score of 54.6%. Total scores on the DRS indicate that home health care aides in this sample were unable to achieve an acceptable performance score of 80% correct. The research also indicates that scores on the subcategory scales were consistently low. Data were found to be unevenly distributed. Frequencies and percentages were calculated for all independent variables (age, education and length of experience), subcategories and questions. Kruskal Wallis one-way ANOV A was used to test for significant relationships between independent variables, each subcategory, and total score. Significance was found at the .01 level between total scores and education level and mood and somatic subcategories and education level. In the best interest of the older adult, home health care aides need to be trained and tested on their ability to recognize depression.


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