•We investigated whether recent and/or remote depression was associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s Dementia (AD) and whether this risk differed between men and women.
•Recent depression was independently associated with increased risk of incident AD while remote depression was not. Recent depression was predictive of AD development in females, but not in males, while sex did not moderate recent depression-associated risk of developing AD.
•Depression may be part of the behavioral prodrome of AD rather than a true risk factor, but further research should determine if findings extend to other populations and whether variable distribution of risk factors accounts for the difference observed between men and women.
Only recent history of depression was associated with higher risk of AD. This association was significant among women only, but was not moderated by sex. Future analyses should determine if these findings extend to other populations and may be explained by variable distribution of neurobiological or other modifiable risk factors between the sexes.