Deficit in theory of mind is a risk for relapse of major depression

J Affect Disord. 2006 Oct;95(1-3):125-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2006.04.018. Epub 2006 Jun 22.


Background: Recently, we reported that patients with depression have theory of mind (ToM) deficit during remission from acute episodes. ToM deficit means difficulty in social adjustment and thus may indicate a poorer prognosis.

Methods: We evaluated ToM ability of 50 patients during remission from major depressive episodes. The patients were followed for 1 year and their outcome observed.

Results: After 1 year, patients who had ToM deficit in a second order false question relapsed significantly more frequently as compared with patients who did not have a deficit (Fisher's exact test p < 0.0001; relative risk (RR) = 8.105; CI 2.020, 32.524). Significant differences were shown in scores of the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (p < 0.0001) between the two groups.

Conclusions: Patients with ToM deficit in second order false belief during remission may be a high risk group for recurrence and lower social function 1 year after recovering from a major depressive episode.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Psychological Theory
  • Recurrence
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Treatment Outcome