Effectiveness of health checkup with depression screening on depression treatment and outcomes in middle-aged and older adults: a target trial emulation study

Yu Ling Chen, Ming Shiang Wu, Shih Heng Wang, Yin Ju Lien, Shih Cheng Liao, Chia Ming Chang, Wei Lieh Huang, Chi Shin Wu*, Chih Cheng Hsu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Adult preventive health checkups with depression screening were launched in August 2011 in Taiwan; however, its impact has not yet been evaluated. This study aimed to use real-world data to assess the effectiveness of depression screening among middle-aged and older adults. Methods: A total of 4,972,228 adults aged 40 years and above who participated in a health checkup with depression screening between 2013 and 2019 and the same number of unscreened counterparts were included. The target trial emulation study was conducted to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) for newly treated depression, psychiatric hospitalisation, and suicide. The changes in HRs during the study period were assessed using interval Cox models. Findings: The screening group had a higher rate of newly treated depression (HR 1.63 [95% CI 1.62, 1.64]) and a lower risk of psychiatric hospitalisation (HR 0.93 [95% CI 0.91, 0.95]). There was a null association between depression screening and suicide; however, a higher suicide risk was found in screened older adults aged 65 years and above. Only 10.8% received depression treatment during the study period among the screen-positive individuals. Interpretation: Health checkups with depression screening could potentially promote depression treatment and reduce the risk of psychiatric hospitalisation; however, there was no effect on suicide. The treatment rate for depression remained low after screening for depression. Further attention to enhance referral and treatment is required. Funding: The study was funded by the National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100978
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific
Volume43
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Feb

Keywords

  • Age
  • Hospitalization
  • Mass screening
  • Suicide
  • Treatment outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health Policy
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Infectious Diseases

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