Predicting the onset of major depression in subjects with subthreshold depression in primary care: a prospective study

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2005 Feb;111(2):133-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2004.00416.x.


Objective: That subjects with subthreshold depression have an increased probability of developing major depression has been confirmed by many studies. However, the factors which may predict the onset of major depression have yet to be fully examined.

Method: We examined the control group of a randomized trial in primary care patients with subthreshold depression (N = 109), of whom 20 had developed major depression 1 year later. Using the vulnerability-stress theory, we examined which factors predicted the onset of major depression.

Results: In both univariate and multivariate analyses, family history and chronic illnesses predicted the onset of major depression.

Conclusion: It is possible to predict to a certain degree whether a subject with subthreshold depression will develop major depression within a year.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / genetics
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index