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Subtypes of major depression: latent class analysis in depressed Han Chinese women

  • Y. Li (a1), S. Aggen (a2), S. Shi (a3) (a4), J. Gao (a5), Y. Li (a6), M. Tao (a7), K. Zhang (a8), X. Wang (a9), C. Gao (a10), L. Yang (a11), Y. Liu (a12), K. Li (a13), J. Shi (a14), G. Wang (a15), L. Liu (a16), J. Zhang (a17), B. Du (a18), G. Jiang (a19), J. Shen (a20), Z. Zhang (a21), W. Liang (a22), J. Sun (a23), J. Hu (a24), T. Liu (a25), X. Wang (a26), G. Miao (a27), H. Meng (a28), Y. Li (a29), C. Hu (a30), Y. Li (a31), G. Huang (a32), G. Li (a33), B. Ha (a34), H. Deng (a35), Q. Mei (a36), H. Zhong (a37), S. Gao (a38), H. Sang (a39), Y. Zhang (a40), X. Fang (a41), F. Yu (a42), D. Yang (a43), T. Liu (a44), Y. Chen (a45), X. Hong (a46), W. Wu (a47), G. Chen (a48), M. Cai (a49), Y. Song (a50), J. Pan (a51), J. Dong (a52), R. Pan (a53), W. Zhang (a54), Z. Shen (a55), Z. Liu (a56), D. Gu (a57), X. Wang (a58), X. Liu (a59), Q. Zhang (a60), J. Flint (a1) and K. S. Kendler (a2)...

Abstract

Background.

Despite substantial research, uncertainty remains about the clinical and etiological heterogeneity of major depression (MD). Can meaningful and valid subtypes be identified and would they be stable cross-culturally?

Method.

Symptoms at their lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years, with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed in Mplus.

Results.

Using the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria, the 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria and all independently assessed depressive symptoms (n = 27), the best LCA model identified respectively three, four and six classes. A severe and non-suicidal class was seen in all solutions, as was a mild/moderate subtype. An atypical class emerged once bidirectional neurovegetative symptoms were included. The non-suicidal class demonstrated low levels of worthlessness/guilt and hopelessness. Patterns of co-morbidity, family history, personality, environmental precipitants, recurrence and body mass index (BMI) differed meaningfully across subtypes, with the atypical class standing out as particularly distinct.

Conclusions.

MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several detectable subtypes with distinct clinical and demographic correlates. Three subtypes were most consistently identified in our analyses: severe, atypical and non-suicidal. Severe and atypical MD have been identified in multiple prior studies in samples of European ethnicity. Our non-suicidal subtype, with low levels of guilt and hopelessness, may represent a pathoplastic variant reflecting Chinese cultural influences.

Copyright

Corresponding author

* Address for correspondence: K. S. Kendler, M.D., Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics of VCU, Box 980126, Richmond, VA 23298-0126, USA. (Email: kendler@vcu.edu)

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Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
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