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Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2011 Oct;46(10):993-1002. doi: 10.1007/s00127-010-0271-6. Epub 2010 Sep 4.

The short-term outcome of depressive disorder in adolescents attending primary care: a cohort study.

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The Academic Unit of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Imperial College, London, UK.



Depressive disorder is common amongst adolescents attending primary care, but little is known about its time course.


To determine the 6-month outcome of depressive disorder in adolescent primary care attendees with regard to the time to recovery from (1) the date of index GP consultation and (2) the date of depressive episode onset, and to identify risk factors associated with time to recovery.


A prospective cohort study of 13-18-year-olds attending a general practice in northwest London. Attendees were screened for depressive disorder at consultation: high scorers underwent a psychiatric research interview. Six months later, adolescents who were depressed at consultation were interviewed using a research psychiatric follow-up interview.


Of the 274 young people who completed the baseline questionnaires, 26 had a depressive disorder at consultation; over 50% failed to recover by the 6-month follow-up. Median episode duration from illness onset was 13 months. Multivariate cox regression showed that fewer positive life events and more physical symptoms predicted a longer time to recovery from consultation. Younger age, fewer recent positive life events and more depressive symptoms predicted a longer time to recovery from illness onset.


Adolescent depressive disorders in general practice attendees are persistent, highlighting the appropriateness of intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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