Publication Date


Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jayne Cohen

Second Advisor

Toby Adelman


Purpose: To examine California's nurse practitioners' (NPs) screening practices and attitudes towards depression among the elderly using the Depression Attitude Questionnaire (DAQ) (Botega, Mann, Blizard, & Wilkinson, 1992). Data sources: One hundred and fifty NPs, selected randomly from the membership of the California Association of Nurse Practitioners (CANP), were surveyed with electronic mailed questionnaires. Seventy-five (50%) self-reported surveys were completed and analyzed. Results: The majority of NPs routinely screened for depression among the elderly. Most thought that life events were not important in the development of depression, held a positive view with pharmacological and psychological treatments of depression, and felt comfortable in caring for depressed patients. However, one third of the respondents believed that it was difficult to differentiate whether patients were presenting with unhappiness or a clinical depressive disorder and that working with depressed patients was difficult This attitude was reported predominantly in respondents who have a master's degree and worked as NPs for less than one year. Implications: The findings indicate the need to offer educational programs for NPs on depression in the elderly with the aim of increasing their diagnostic and care management skills.