The predictors of persistence of depression in primary care

J Affect Disord. 1994 Jun;31(2):81-90. doi: 10.1016/0165-0327(94)90111-2.


164 patients in primary care who were recognized as depressed by their physicians and started on antidepressants were interviewed at 1 and 4 months after initiation of treatment. Ten factors hypothesized to be related to persistence of depressive symptoms were entered into a multivariate analysis to determine predictors of persistence of affective symptoms. Patients with minor depression were significantly older, more likely to be married or cohabitating, more likely to have serious medical illness, and had significantly less comorbid panic disorder, recurrent depression and lower neuroticism scores compared to patients with major depression. Approximately half of the patients in this primary care sample with major depression and one-third of those with minor depression were still distressed at 4 months, although few met criteria for major depression. Severity of depression and high neuroticism scores were the best predictors of persistent depressive symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Disease
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neurotic Disorders / psychology
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Prognosis
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents