BACKGROUND: It is unclear whether medical treatment outcome in first episode depression differ for patients with and without stressful life events prior to onset of depression. METHODS: Patients discharged with a diagnosis of a single depressive episode from a psychiatric in- or outpatient hospital setting were consecutively sampled from the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register. Patients participated in an extensive interview including the schedules for clinical assessment in neuropsychiatry (SCAN), the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV axis II personality disorders (SCID-II) and the interview of recent life events (IRLE). Medical treatment history was assessed in detail using standardised procedures (TRAQ). Remission was defined as a score or= 4 on TRAQ following (1) first trial of antidepressant treatment (2) two adequate trials of antidepressant treatment. RESULTS: A total of 399 patients participated in the interview and among these 301 patients obtained a SCAN diagnosis of a single depressive episode. A total of 62.8% of the 301 patients experienced at least one moderate to severe stressful life event in a 6 months period prior to symptom onset. The presence of a stressful life event or the number of stressful life events did not predict remission from first or second antidepressant drug trial-nor when adjusted for differences in age, gender or prevalence of co-morbid personality disorders. CONCLUSIONS: Medical treatment outcome in first episode depression does not depend on the prevalence of moderate to severe stressful life events prior to symptom onset.
Keywords: Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Antidepressive Agents; Comorbidity; Denmark; Depressive Disorder; Female; Humans; Life Change Events; Male; Middle Aged; Outcome Assessment (Health Care); Personality Disorders; Prevalence; Probability; Psychiatric Status Rating Scales; Risk Factors; Severity of Illness Index; Treatment Outcome