Background: Clinical studies on the outcome of adolescent depression beyond treatment trials are scarce.
Objective: To investigate the impact of characteristics of the depressive episode and current comorbidity on the 1-year outcome of depression.
Method: A sample of 174 consecutive adolescent psychiatric outpatients (aged 13 through 19 years) and 17 school-derived matched controls, all with unipolar depressive disorders at baseline, were reinterviewed for DSM-IV Axis I and Axis II disorders at 12 months. The study was conducted between January 1998 and May 2002.
Results: The outpatients had equal recovery rate and episode duration but shorter time to recurrence than the controls. Among the outpatients, Axis II comorbidity predicted shorter time to recurrence (p = .02). Longer time to recovery was predicted by earlier lifetime age at onset for depression (p = .02), poor psychosocial functioning (p = .003), depressive disorder diagnosis (p <or= .05), and longer episode duration by study entry (p = .001), with an interaction between episode duration and depressive disorder diagnosis (p = .04).
Conclusions: Characteristics of depression generally predicted the outcome better than co-morbidity. Axis II comorbidity has prognostic value in adolescent depression.