Predicting development and treatment of common mental disorders in older adults

Anxiety and Depression in Older People PhD Scholarship 2019: School of Psychology, University of Sussex

Supervisor: Dr Darya Gaysina, Dr Clara Strauss, Dr Nick Grey

Summary: One in five older adults is affected with depression and/or anxiety and needs professional help. Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services are open to all adults, however very fewer older adults access it, and only half of those who receive treatment get better. Because our population is getting older, we urgently need to know who are at a higher risk of depression and anxiety in late adulthood, and how to develop effective treatments for everyone. This PhD project will identify predictors of depression and anxiety, and outcomes of psychological treatments, in older adults. To achieve this, two complementary approaches will be used. First, the project will develop a new prediction model for depression and anxiety using data from the oldest British birth cohort that follows >5000 men and women born in Britain in 1946 through their entire life (up to age 69). Second, the project will test whether tools to identify the risk of depression and anxiety could be used to predict who will benefit most from psychological treatments offered by the IAPT service. Findings of the project will have important implications for developing more effective preventions and treatments against depression and anxiety in late life.