Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

The impact and measurement of social dysfunction in late-life depression: an evaluation of current methods with a focus on wearable technology

Lookup NU author(s): Sophie Hodgetts, Dr Peter GallagherORCiD, Dr Daniel StowORCiD, Emeritus Professor Nicol Ferrier, Professor John O'Brien



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Objective: Depression is known to negatively impact social functioning, with patients commonly reporting difficulties maintaining social relationships. Moreover, a large body of evidence suggests poor social functioning is not only present in depression but that social functioning is an important factor in illness course and outcome. In addition, good social relationships can play a protective role against the onset of depressive symptoms, particularly in late-life depression. However, the majority of research in this area has employed self-report measures of social function. This approach is problematic, as due to their reliance on memory, such measures are prone to error from the neurocognitive impairments of depression, as well as mood-congruent biases. Method: Narrative review based on searches of the Web of Science and PubMed database(s) from the start of the databases, until the end of 2015. Results: The present review provides an overview of the literature on social functioning in (late-life) depression and discusses the potential for new technologies to improve the measurement of social function in depressed older adults. In particular, the use of wearable technology to collect direct, objective measures of social activity, such as physical activity and speech, is considered. Conclusion: In order to develop a greater understanding of social functioning in late-life depression, future research should include the development and validation of more direct, objective measures in conjunction with subjective self-report measures. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hodgetts S, Gallagher P, Stow D, Ferrier IN, O'Brien JT

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Year: 2017

Volume: 32

Issue: 3

Pages: 247-255

Print publication date: 01/03/2017

Online publication date: 02/12/2016

Acceptance date: 26/10/2016

ISSN (print): 0885-6230

ISSN (electronic): 1099-1166

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1002/gps.4632