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Prevalence and predictors of major depressive disorder in bereaved caregivers at 6 and 13 months

  • Seon-Young Kim (a1) (a2), Seung-Jeon Kim (a3), Jae-Min Kim (a1), Sung-Wan Kim (a1), Il-Seon Shin (a1), Hyun-Jeong Shim (a4), Sang-Hee Cho (a4), Ik-Joo Chung (a4) and Jin-Sang Yoon (a1)...



Depressive symptoms are common in bereaved caregivers; however, there have been few prospective studies using a structured interview. This study investigated the prevalence and preloss predictors of major depressive disorder (MDD) in bereaved caregivers of patients in a palliative care unit.


This prospective cohort study collected caregiver sociodemographic and psychological data before the death of a palliative care unit patient, including MDD, care-burden, coping style, and hopeful attitude. Postloss MDD was assessed 6 and 13 months after death, and a multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify its predictors.


Of 305 caregivers contacted, 92 participated in this study. The prevalence of preloss MDD was 21.8%; the prevalences of postloss MDD were 34.8% and 24.7% at 6 and 13 months, respectively. Preloss MDD predicted postloss MDD at 6 months (odds ratio [OR] = 5.38, 95% confidence interval [CI95%] = 1.29, 22.43); preloss nonhopeful attitude and unemployment status of caregivers predicted postloss MDD at 13 months (OR = 8.77, CI95% = 1.87, 41.13 and OR = 7.10, CI95% = 1.28, 39.36, respectively).

Significance of results

Approximately 35% of caregivers suffered from MDD at 6 months postloss, but the prevalence of MDD decreased to about 25% at 13 months. Preloss MDD significantly predicted postloss MDD at 6 months, whereas hopeful attitude and unemployment at baseline were significantly associated with postloss MDD at 13 months.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Seon-Young Kim, Department of Psychiatry, Chonnam National University Medical School, 160 Baekseoro, Dong-Ku, Gwangju 61469, Republic of Korea. E-mail:


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