PEARLS for Older Adults

Evidence-Based Treatment for Depression in the Elderly

PEARLS for Older Adults was designed to treat minor depression and dysthymic disorder in adults aged 60 and older. Older adults are less likely than younger adults to have major depression but have comparable rates of the less severe depressive disorders, minor depression and dysthymia. Overall, depression is the most common mental health problem among older adults.

Older adults are less likely than younger adults to have major depression but have comparable rates of the less severe depressive disorders, minor depression and dysthymia.

Between 1999 and 2003, University of Washington investigators at the HPRC and community-based service providers conducted a randomized controlled trial funded by the CDC to test the effectiveness of the PEARLS Program in older adults living in the community. Individuals in this study were relatively housebound and had an average of five chronic medical conditions. Those who were treated with the PEARLS Program were three times as likely to experience a reduction in their depressive symptoms as those who were not treated with the PEARLS Program.