We conducted an interview-based survey to predict the clinical course of major depressive disorder during a follow-up period of 12 months. Altogether 86 patients were investigated. A SCID I interview for DSM-III-R axis-I diagnosis was conducted at baseline and a SCID II interview for personality disorders at the 6-month follow-up. Beck Depression Inventory scores indicated the level of depression and were compiled at baseline and at 6 and 12 months. A BDI score between 9 and 14 was considered to indicate partial remission, and score of 0-8 indicated remission. At the 6-month assessment 33% of the patients had remission, 20% were in partial remission, and 47% were in the depressive phase. Older age, personality disorder, and alexithymia were associated with poor response at 6 months. At 12 months 37% had remission, 28% were in partial remission, and 35% were still in the depressive phase. Treatment at the early stage should be effective enough to achieve remission. If the response is not satisfactory within 6 months, a renewed search should be conducted for factors hindering recovery. Comorbid personality disorder is the main factor predicting a poor short-term response in major depressive disorder.