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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1991 Aug;59(4):566-73.

Onset of depression and time to treatment entry: roles of life stress.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene 97403-1227.


Patients with depression vary greatly in the time between onset of disorder and entry into treatment. Few data exist on the dimensions of this time interval and the forces that influence it. The present article outlines considerations for research on this topic and presents findings for outpatient depressives (N = 61) on life stress and the time lag between onset and treatment entry. Results indicate that life stress occurring before the onset of depression is highly predictive of time to treatment entry. In marked contrast, stress occurring after onset is not associated with this time interval. Further analyses suggest different mechanisms of association between different stress variables and time to treatment entry. The clinical implications for alleviating suffering from a depressive episode and for decreasing the likelihood that depression will lead to disruption in other spheres of the person's life are discussed. Overall, the results add to the emerging literature on life stress and depression, enlarging the scope to include forces operative in seeking formal treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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