Comorbid Major Depressive Disorder in Schizophrenia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Schizophr Bull. 2021 Mar 16;47(2):298-308. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbaa153.


Comorbid major depressive disorder (MDD) in schizophrenia (SZ; SZ-MDD) has been identified as a major prognostic factor. However, the prevalence and associated factors of SZ-MDD have never been explored in a meta-analysis. All studies assessing the prevalence of SZ-MDD in stabilized outpatients with a standardized scale or with structured interviews were included. The Medline, Web of Science, PsycINFO, and Google Scholar databases were searched. Using random effects models, we calculated the pooled estimate of the prevalence of SZ-MDD. We used meta-regression and subgroup analyses to evaluate the potential moderators of the prevalence estimates, and we used the leave-one-out method for sensitivity analyses. Of the 5633 potentially eligible studies identified, 18 studies (n = 6140 SZ stabilized outpatients) were retrieved in the systematic review and included in the meta-analysis. The pooled estimate of the prevalence of SZ-MDD was 32.6% (95% CI: 27.9-37.6); there was high heterogeneity (I2 = 92.6%), and Egger's test did not reveal publication bias (P = .122). The following factors were found to be sources of heterogeneity: publication in or after 2015, the inclusion of patients from larger studies, the assessment tools, the inclusion of patients with substance use disorder or somatic chronic diseases, age, education level, the lifetime number of hospitalizations, and antidepressant use. Two-thirds of the extracted variables could not be explored due to an insufficient amount of published data. The prevalence of MDD is high among SZ individuals. Healthcare providers and public health officials should have an increased awareness of the burden of SZ-MDD.

Keywords: antidepressant; depression; meta-analysis; prevalence; psychiatry; schizophrenia; treatment.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*