Depressive Symptoms in Women with Coronary Heart Disease: A Systematic Review of the Longitudinal Literature

Sydney A. Buckland, Bunny Pozehl, Bernice Yates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Interpreting studies about women with coronary heart disease and depressive symptoms is challenging: women continue to be underrepresented in research; data are often not presented separately by sex; many studies do not examine depressive symptoms longitudinally, leaving our understanding incomplete; and the use of multiple depressive symptom assessment instruments makes comparisons between studies problematic. Purpose: The authors of this systematic review examined 20 longitudinal descriptive studies on women with coronary heart disease and depressive symptoms, including prevalence of elevated symptoms, changes in symptoms over time, findings in women versus men, and findings based on assessment instruments. Conclusions: The prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms in women was 35.75% at baseline (hospitalization). The Beck Depression Inventory II yielded the highest baseline prevalence (40.3%), slightly higher than the Depression Interview and Structured Hamilton Scale (36%). The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Kellner questionnaire yielded much lower prevalence (21.45% and 23%, respectively). Higher prevalence was linked to inclusion of somatic symptoms on measurement instruments except in post-coronary bypass surgery patients. Symptoms trended toward improvement, particularly in the first 6 months, although a few studies measured beyond this time. Women demonstrated higher prevalence than men initially (35.75% vs 23.46%, respectively) and over 24 months (22.71% vs 19.82%, respectively). Clinical Implications: Women experienced significantly more depressive symptoms than men initially and over time, although most women's symptoms improved. Measurement varies widely based on instrument and the inclusion/exclusion of somatic symptoms. More longitudinal studies beyond 6 months with prevalence data and analysis by sex/gender are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-59
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • coronary disease
  • depression
  • longitudinal studies
  • prevalence
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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