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J Psychiatr Res. 2010 Apr;44(5):302-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2009.09.008. Epub 2009 Oct 2.

Clinical characteristics and treatment outcome of depression in patients with and without a history of emotional and physical abuse.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Biotechnology, School of Medicine, University of Pisa, Italy.


Clinical features and treatment outcome were compared in depressed outpatients with and without a history of emotional and physical abuse (EPA), including childhood maltreatment. Patients were initially randomized to IPT or SSRI and then augmented with the second treatment if they did not remit with monotherapy. Assessments included the SCID-I, the SCID-II for DSM-IV diagnoses, the HRSD, the QIDS and the Mood Spectrum Self-Report (MOODS-SR). Seventy-eight (25%) patients reported a history of EPA; 60 (76.9%) were women. Patients with a history of EPA did not differ from those without on HRSD scores at baseline, but showed an earlier age at onset of depression and a longer duration of illness. The two groups differed on several mood spectrum factors, namely: 'depressivemood' (15.6+/-4.9 vs. 13.5+/-5.4; p<0.004), 'psychomotorretardation' (11.7+/-4.5 vs. 9.6+/-4.7; p<0.001), 'drugandillness-relateddepression' (1.3+/-1.3 vs. 0.6+/-1.0; p<0.0001), and 'neurovegetativesymptoms' (8.3+/-2.6 vs. 6.9+/-2.9; p<0.0001). Patients with EPA had also a significantly longer time to remission (89 vs. 67days, log-rank test, p=0.035). The need for augmentation treatment was significantly more frequent among patients with EPA than in those without. The present study suggests that patients with a history of EPA show a subtype of depression characterized by poor treatment response and more severe neurovegetative and psychomotor symptoms.

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