Quality of life assessments in major depressive disorder: a review of the literature

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2004 Jan-Feb;26(1):13-7. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2003.07.004.


According to the DSM-IV classification, a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is possible only when there is evidence of significant inference with functioning. However, despite the high prevalence of MDD in the general population, it is uncommon for clinicians to assess overall functioning in a systematic way before making such diagnosis. An important correlate of functioning is quality of life, which is typically defined as "patients' own assessments of how they feel about what they have, how they are functioning, and their ability to derive pleasure from their life activities". In the present article, we review studies focusing on the relationship between depression and quality of life, particularly focusing on the impact of the treatment of depression on quality of life. Studies focusing on the quality of life in MDD are reviewed. Candidate studies published between 1970 and recently were initially identified by Pubmed and Ovid search cross-referencing the terms "quality of life," "psychosocial functioning" with "major depression" and "treatment." A number of studies report poorer quality of life in MDD patients compared to controls. Several studies also report an improvement in quality of life measures during various phases of treatment with antidepressants and/or psychotherapy. However, trials comparing the role of newer psychopharmacologic agents in the acute phase of treatment, and the role of newer psychotherapies in the continuation and maintenance phases of treatment in restoring psychosocial functioning and improving the quality of life in MDD are lacking. Exploring the impact of these modalities on psychosocial function and quality of life in MDD are necessary to help translate clinical response into restoration of psychosocial function and to thus further improve the standard of care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*