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Depress Anxiety. 2009;26(8):718-23. doi: 10.1002/da.20571.

Chronic and acute stress and the prediction of major depression in women.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095-1563, USA. hammen@psych.ucla.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This study explored the relatively neglected role of chronic stress in major depression, examining the independent contributions of co-occurring chronic and acute stress to depression, whether chronic stress predicts acute life events, and whether the two types of stress interact such that greater chronic stress confers greater sensitivity-or resistance-to the depressive effects of acute stressors.

METHODS:

From a sample of 816 community women, those who had a major depression onset in the past 9 months and those without major depressive episodes (MDE) onset and with no history of current or recent dysthymic disorder were compared on interview-based measures of antecedent acute and chronic stress. Chronic stress interviews rated objective stress in multiple everyday role domains, and acute stress was evaluated with contextual threat interviews.

RESULTS:

MDE onset was significantly associated with both chronic and acute stress; chronic stress was also associated with the occurrence of acute events, and there was a trend suggesting that increased acute stress is more strongly associated with depression in those with high versus low chronic stress.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results suggest the importance of including assessment of chronic stress in fully understanding the extent and mechanisms of stress-depression relationships.

PMID:
19496077
PMCID:
PMC3380803
DOI:
10.1002/da.20571
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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