Predictors of first-episode unipolar major depression in individuals with and without sub-threshold depressive symptoms: A prospective, population-based study

Amy T. Peters, Stewart A Shankman, Thilo Deckersbach, Amy E. West*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The aim of this study is to assess predictors of first-episode major depression in a community-based sample of adults with and without sub-threshold depression. Method: Data were from Waves 1 and 2 of the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Participants meeting criteria for a sub-threshold depressive episode (sMDE; n=3901) reported lifetime depressed mood/loss of interest lasting at least two weeks and at least two of the seven other DSM-IV symptoms of MDD. Predictors of MDE 3 years later were compared in those with and without (n=31022) sMDE. Results: Being female, history of alcohol or substance use, and child abuse increased the odds of developing MDD to a greater degree in individuals without sMDE relative to those with sMDE. Among those with sMDE and additional risk factors (low education, substance use), younger age was associated with marginally increased risk of MDD. Conclusion: Several demographic risk factors may help identify individuals at risk for developing MDD in individuals who have not experienced an sMDE who may be candidates for early intervention. Future work should assess whether preventative interventions targeting substance/alcohol use and child abuse could reduce the risk of depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-156
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume230
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2015

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Risk factors
  • Sub-threshold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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