Background: Studies that have investigated the relation between depression and the type, nature, extent and outcome of general hospital admissions have been limited by their retrospective designs and focus on specific clinical populations. We explored this relation prospectively in a large, community-based sample of older men. Methods: A cohort of 5411 men aged 69 years and older enrolled in the Health in Men Study was assessed at baseline for depressive symptoms, defined as a score of 7 or higher on the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale. Participants were followed for 2 years for occurrence and number of hospital admissions, type of hospital admission, length of hospital stay and inpatient death as recorded in the Western Australian Data Linkage System. Results: Of 339 men with depressive symptoms, 152 (44.8%) had at least 1 emergency hospital admission, compared with 1164 of 5072 (22.9%) nondepressed men (p < 0.001). In multivariate analyses, the presence of depressive symptoms was a significant independent predictor of hospital admission (hazard ratio 1.67, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.38-2.01), number of hospital admissions (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.22, 95% CI 1.07-1.39) and total length of hospital stay (IRR 1.65, 95% CI 1.36-2.01). Interpretation: Participants with depressive symptoms were at higher risk of hospital admission for nonpsychiatric conditions and were more likely to have longer hospital stays and worse hospital outcomes, compared with nondepressed participants. These results highlight the potential to target this high-risk group to reduce the burden of health care costs in an aging population. © 2013 Canadian Medical Association or its licensors.