Repository logo

The association between depressive symptoms in the community, non-psychiatric hospital admission and hospital outcomes: a systematic review.

Published version

Repository DOI



Change log


Prina, A Matthew 
Cosco, Theodore D 
Dening, Tom 
Beekman, Aartjan 


OBJECTIVES: This paper aims to systematically review observational studies that have analysed whether depressive symptoms in the community are associated with higher general hospital admissions, longer hospital stays and increased risk of re-admission. METHODS: We identified prospective studies that looked at depressive symptoms in the community as a risk factor for non-psychiatric general hospital admissions, length of stay or risk of re-admission. The search was carried out on MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library Database, and followed up with contact with authors and scanning of reference lists. RESULTS: Eleven studies fulfilled our inclusion and exclusion criteria, and all were deemed to be of moderate to high quality. Meta-analysis of seven studies with relevant data suggested that depressive symptoms may be a predictor of subsequent admission to a general hospital in unadjusted analyses (RR=1.36, 95% CI: 1.28-1.44), but findings after adjustment for confounding variables were inconsistent. The narrative synthesis also reported depressive symptoms to be independently associated with longer length of stay, and higher re-admission risk. CONCLUSIONS: Depressive symptoms are associated with a higher risk of hospitalisation, longer length of stay and a higher re-admission risk. Some of these associations may be mediated by other factors, and should be explored in more details.



Comorbidity, Depression, Depressive symptoms, Hospitalisation, Length of stay, Patient re-admission, Databases, Factual, Depression, Hospitalization, Hospitals, General, Humans, Independent Living, Length of Stay, Patient Admission, Patient Readmission, Risk Factors

Journal Title

J Psychosom Res

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Elsevier BV
No funding bodies had any role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors have no competing interests to report. No specific funding was set aside for this project. Matthew Prina was supported by the Medical Research Council [grant number RG56433].