Friday, February 25, 2011

MDD During a Time of Economic Hardship

My colleague at the University of Calgary, Dr. Jian Li Wang, is the lead investigator on a large prospective cohort study (a study that follows a large group of respondents forward in time). The main goal of this study is to evaluate the workplace and their role in mental health. However, his study happened to be ongoing at the time when the current economic crisis hit. In his cohort, the prevalence of major depression increased from 5.1% to 7.6%, a significant change. The prevalence of dysthymic disorder (chronic, low grade depression) also increased significantly. This is one of the first studies to demonstrate the sensitivity of this condition to environmental conditions, in this case socio-economic conditions.

A link to the abstract for the paper may be found

Full text of the paper here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Predictors of the Long Term Course of Major Depression

In Canada (as in other countries), approximately 20% of those developing an episode of MDE have a decidedly negative course. In a recent study, we examined what factors may help to predict, or determine, a more favourable from a less favourable long-term outcome. The most important predictors of a negative course were: having a family history of depression, having a comorbid condition along with the depressive episode, having a more negative cognitive style, stress, smoking and pain. In some cases, these may be factors that both result from depression and which make the depression worse - in other words, dynamic factors that may contribute to depression becoming entrenched. In other cases, e.g. having a family history, these may simply be factors that identify a greater vulnerability to depression.