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J Affect Disord. 1999 Dec;56(2-3):127-39.

Gender differences in the short-term course of unipolar depression in a follow-up sample of depressed inpatients.

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Division of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany.



This paper examined sex differences in the short-term course of depression and assessed the impact of possibly outcome-affecting factors, including sex-specific recall artefacts and demographic and clinical characteristics.


A cohort of 179 unipolar depressed inpatients was followed up 1 (T1) and 7 months (T2) after discharge.


Residual depression at T1 was comparable in both sexes as was the rate of follow-up nonremissions in patients who had failed to remit from the index episode at T1. In contrast, female gender was a significant predictor of relapse. This sex difference was partly attributable to women who relapsed after T1 and were again in remission at T2. Potential sex-related recall artefacts were tested by contrasting the patients' retrospective assessment of their T1-depression status reported at T2 with their interviewer-rated depression status assessed at T1. Results suggest that the observed sex difference in relapses could neither be explained by memory artefacts nor by differences in demographic and clinical sample compositions.


It is concluded that due to their higher risk for early relapses, particular efforts with regard to continuation treatment are required for women during the critical period of remission.

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