Background: Little is known about longitudinal associations among measures of depression, mental and physical health, and quality of life (QOL). We followed 982 clinically depressed persons to determine which measures changed and whether the change was synchronous with change in depressive symptoms.
Methods: Data were from the Longitudinal Investigation of Depression Outcomes (LIDO). Depressive symptoms, physical and mental health, and quality of life were measured at baseline, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 9 months. Change in the measures was examined over time and for persons with different levels of change in depressive symptoms.
Results: On average, all of the measures improved significantly over time, and most were synchronous with change in depressive symptoms. Measures of mental health changed the most, and physical health the least. The measures of change in QOL were intermediate. The 6-week change in QOL could be explained completely by change in depressive symptoms. The instruments varied in sensitivity to changes in depressive symptoms.
Conclusion: In clinically depressed persons, measures of physical health, mental health, and quality of life showed consistent longitudinal associations with measures of depressive symptoms.