Subjective ratings of emotional health as a risk factor for major depression in a community sample.
R A Hoff, M L Bruce, S V Kasl, S C Jacobs


BACKGROUND Although subjective ratings of health have been shown to be accurate predictors of physical health outcomes, there is little research on the association between subjective emotional health (SEH) and psychiatric outcomes.

METHOD This paper utilises data from the Epidemiologic Catchment Area study to explore the relationship between baseline SEH and the risk for major depression in the next year. Both recurrent and incident episodes of depression are outcomes of interest.

RESULTS The age- and gender-adjusted relationship between SEH and depression is quite significant, and remains so after adjusting for other factors associated with major depression. The more positive the SEH rating, the lower the risk of an episode of depression in the next year.

CONCLUSIONS Some possible explanations for this association are explored, including possible confounders that were not accounted for and the possibility that SEH ratings pose an independent risk for major depression.