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Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a multifactorial syndrome with significant interactions between genetic and environmental factors. This study specifically investigates the association between family history of alcohol problems (FHAP) and family history of depression (FHD), and how these relate to different clusters of depressive symptoms.
Correlations between FHAP and FHD and different clusters of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were studied. We sampled 333 employees from a general hospital who had been receiving a psychiatric consultation between 2005 and 2012. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) models were conducted to explore these correlations.
There was a significant positive correlation between FHAP and BDI affective score. This result remained significant even after the adjustment for other variables considered as important factors for MDD, such as gender, age, marital status, education, ethnic group and FHD. More specifically, FHAP was correlated with dissatisfaction and episodes of crying among the affective symptoms. FHAP showed no statistical difference in any of the other clusters score or in the BDI total score. Moreover, as expected, we found a correlation between FHD and BDI total score and Somatic and Cognitive clusters.
FHAP should be routinely investigated in individuals presenting with depressive symptoms. This is especially important in cases presenting with dissatisfaction and episodes of crying in patients who do not endorse criteria for MDD. Due to study limitations, the findings require replication by neurobiological, epidemiological and clinical studies.
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