Journal List > J Korean Acad Community Health Nurs > v.28(3) > 1058466

Lee and Kim: The Effect of Vitamin D and Calcium on Cognitive Function and Depression in the Elderly Living in a City



This study aims to examine the influence of vitamin D and calcium on depression and cognitive function of the elderly living alone in a city.


The participants were registered in eight senior centers in S city and they had lived alone. Data were collected between November 28, 2014 and March 7, 2015. A total of 155 people participated in data collection to measure the serum vitamin D, the serum calcium, depression, and cognitive function. The data were analyzed with t-test, ANOVA, Pearson's correlation and multiple regression analysis.


There were significant differences in depression according to gender and perceptions of health status. Depression correlated significantly with the serum calcium and perceptions of health status, and a stepwise regression analysis showed that the perceptions of health status were significant. There were significant differences in cognitive function according to education level and age. Cognitive function correlated significantly with the serum vitamin D and a stepwise regression analysis showed that education level and age were significant.


Consequently, elderly people with poor perceptions of their health status need a depressive intervention program and those with a higher age and lower level of education need a cognitive function intervention program.


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Table 1.
Characteristics, Vitamin D, Calcium, Depression, Cognitive Function of the Study Population (N=155)
Characteristics Categories n (%) or M±SD
Age (year) ≤69 15 (9.7)
70~79 90 (58.1)
≥80 50 (32.2)
Gender Male 33 (21.3)
Female 122 (78.7)
Education Illiteracy 61 (39.4)
Elementary school 61 (39.4)
Middle school 21 (13.5)
High school 11 (7.1)
≥College 1 (0.6)
Religion Christianity 25 (16.1)
Catholic 37 (23.9)
Buddhism 41 (26.5)
No religion 52 (33.5)
Alcohol use Yes 38 (24.5)
No 117 (75.5)
Smoking Yes 10 (6.5)
No 145 (93.5)
Perceptions of health status Not very healthy 3 (1.9)
Not healthy 80 (51.6)
Moderate 55 (35.5)
Healthy 17 (11.0)
Outdoor activity time (min/day) <60 67 (43.2)
60~<180 64 (41.3)
180~<300 20 (12.9)
≥300 4 (2.6)
Vitamin D 18.88±9.24
Calcium 9.25±0.38
GDSSF-K 5.59±3.97
MMSE-K 23.88±3.60

GDSSF-K: Geriatric depression scale short form-Korean version (0~4: normal, 5~9: mild depression, 10~15: severe depression);

MMSE-K: Mini-mental state examination- Korean version (High score: Good cognitive function).

Table 2.
Depression, Cognitive Function by General Characteristics (N=155)
Characteristics Categories Depression Cognitive function
n (%) or M±SD t or F p n (%) or M±SD t or F p
Age (year) ≤69a 6.73±3.91 1.06 .349 26.40±2.69 5.58 .005
70~79b 5.68±4.14 23.97±3.38 b, c<a
≥80c 5.08±3.63 22.98±3.89
Gender Male 4.30±3.87 -2.12 .036 25.18±3.25 2.37 .019
Female 5.93±3.94 23.53±3.62
Education Illiteracya 6.05±4.10 1.50 .204 21.92±3.61 11.54 .001
Elementary schoolb 5.82±3.73 24.59±2.30 a<b
Middle schoolc 4.90±4.31 25.57±2.30 a, b<c
High schoold 3.36±3.41 27.27±1.62 a, b, c<d
≥Collegee 2.00±0.00 28.00±0.00
Religion Christianity 5.56±4.20 0.06 .980 23.88±3.91 0.27 .847
Catholic 5.81±4.13 24.24±3.52
Buddhism 5.59±3.93 23.98±3.31
No religion 5.44±3.87 23.56±3.80
Alcohol use Yes 5.56±3.99 -0.13 .900 23.83±3.61 -0.33 .740
No 5.66±3.95 24.05±3.59
Smoking Yes 5.48±3.94 -1.25 .214 23.97±3.47 1.08 .284
No 7.10±4.25 22.70±5.19
Perceptions of health status Not very healthya 9.33±1.53 9.72 .001 23.00±1.00 1.09 .354
Not healthyb 6.95±3.90 c>b 23.50±3.27
Moderatec 3.96±3.38 24.58±3.48
Healthyd 3.76±3.63 23.59±3.60
Outdoor activity time (min/day) <60 4.97±3.69 2.11 .102 23.93±3.78 0.65 .585
60~<180 5.73±4.02 24.11±3.24
180~<300 7.40±4.49 23.45±3.72
≥300 4.50±3.11 21.75±5.85

Scheffé test.

Table 3.
Correlations between Depression, Cognitive Function, Vitamin D, Calcium, Perceived Health and Outdoor Activity Time (N=155)
Variables MMSE-K Vitamin D Calcium Perception of health status Outdoor activity time
r (p) r (p) r (p) r (p) r (p)
GDSSF-K -.09 (.294) -.05 (.557) .17 (.039) -.38 (<.001) .12 (.162)
MMSE-K .17 (.032) .02 (.852) .08 (.357) -.09 (.261)
Vitamin D -.09 (.296) .13 (.103) .10 (.233)
Calcium -.01 (.921) .00 (.970)
Perceptions of health status -.01 (.876)
Table 4.
Factors influencing Depression (N=155)
Factors B SE β t p
Perceptions of health status -2.21 0.53 -.37 -4.19 <.001
R2=.14, Adj. R2 =.13, F=17.54, p<.001
Table 5.
Factors influencing Cognitive Function (N=155)
Factors B SE β t p
Education 1.56 0.31 .43 5.05 <.001
Age -0.13 0.05 -.21 -2.46 .016
R2=.28, Adj. R2=.27, F=21.05, p<.001
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