Functioning after a major depressive episode : complete or incomplete recovery?
SourceJournal of Affective Disorders, 82, 3, (2004), pp. 363-372
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
Journal of Affective Disorders
Background: Numerous studies have shown improved functioning after a depression, but often substantial limitations at follow-up remained. The goal of this study is to examine (1) whether functioning returns to pre-morbid levels after a major depressive episode (MDE), (2) predictors of incomplete functional recovery, and (3) how these functional levels relate to those in a non-depressed sample. Methods: Data were derived from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study, a prospective general population study with three waves. Psychopathology was measured with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and functioning with the Short-Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36). One hundred and sixty-five individuals who met criteria for MDE between baseline and third wave, but not in the 12 months preceding baseline and third wave were selected. Results: Mean post-morbid levels of functioning did not differ from pre-morbid levels although this level still differed significantly from the non-depressed sample. Sixty to eighty-five percent of the respondents did better or showed no change on different scales after recovery from MDE. Co-morbid substance use disorder and anxiety disorder, presence of somatic illness, external mastery, low social support and high baseline functioning were predictors of worsened functioning. Limitations: Lay interviewers used fully structured diagnostic interviews to determine MDE and functioning was measured using self-report. Conclusions: In general, people who recover from a MDE will also recover from functional impairments. The most important predictors of incomplete functional recovery are clinical and social in nature whereas personality and demographic characteristics are less important.
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