OBJECTIVE: The authors predicted that depressed elderly patients who
responded to treatment would rate their baseline health more positively
than nonresponders, that responders would again rate their health more
positively once they were in remission, and that lower baseline self-
ratings of health would predict lack of response to protocol treatment.
METHOD: The Perception of Illness Scale was administered to 61 depressed
elderly patients at baseline and again upon completion of the acute phase
of a depression treatment protocol. A logistic regression was performed to
ascertain whether Perception of Illness Scale scores predicted response to
protocol treatment. RESULTS: Baseline Perception of Illness Scale scores
were poorer among the nonresponders, accurately predicted response or lack
of response in 75% of the subjects, and showed before-to after-treatment
improvement among the responders. CONCLUSIONS: Patients who initially rated
their health as fair to poor were less likely to recover from depression in
a standardized treatment protocol. Self-ratings of health improved with
resolution of depression.