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There is substantial variation in patient symptoms following psychological therapy for depression and anxiety. However, reliance on endpoint outcomes ignores additional interindividual variation during therapy. Knowing a patient's likely symptom trajectories could guide clinical decisions. We aimed to identify latent classes of patients with similar symptom trajectories over the course of psychological therapy and explore associations between baseline variables and trajectory class.
Patients received high-intensity psychological treatment for common mental health problems at National Health Service Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services in South London (N = 16 258). To identify trajectories, we performed growth mixture modelling of depression and anxiety symptoms over 11 sessions. We then ran multinomial regressions to identify baseline variables associated with trajectory class membership.
Trajectories of depression and anxiety symptoms were highly similar and best modelled by four classes. Three classes started with moderate-severe symptoms and showed (1) no change, (2) gradual improvement, and (3) fast improvement. A final class (4) showed initially mild symptoms and minimal improvement. Within the moderate-severe baseline symptom classes, patients in the two showing improvement as opposed to no change tended not to be prescribed psychotropic medication or report a disability and were in employment. Patients showing fast improvement additionally reported lower baseline functional impairment on average.
Multiple trajectory classes of depression and anxiety symptoms were associated with baseline characteristics. Identifying the most likely trajectory for a patient at the start of treatment could inform decisions about the suitability and continuation of therapy, ultimately improving patient outcomes.
Overgeneralised self-blame and worthlessness are key symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) and have previously been associated with self-blame-selective changes in connectivity between right superior anterior temporal lobe (rSATL) and subgenual frontal cortices. Another study showed that remitted MDD patients were able to modulate this neural signature using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) neurofeedback training, thereby increasing their self-esteem. The feasibility and potential of using this approach in symptomatic MDD were unknown.
This single-blind pre-registered randomised controlled pilot trial probed a novel self-guided psychological intervention with and without additional rSATL-posterior subgenual cortex (BA25) fMRI neurofeedback, targeting self-blaming emotions in people with insufficiently recovered MDD and early treatment-resistance (n = 43, n = 35 completers). Participants completed three weekly self-guided sessions to rebalance self-blaming biases.
As predicted, neurofeedback led to a training-induced reduction in rSATL-BA25 connectivity for self-blame v. other-blame. Both interventions were safe and resulted in a 46% reduction on the Beck Depression Inventory-II, our primary outcome, with no group differences. Secondary analyses, however, revealed that patients without DSM-5-defined anxious distress showed a superior response to neurofeedback compared with the psychological intervention, and the opposite pattern in anxious MDD. As predicted, symptom remission was associated with increases in self-esteem and this correlated with the frequency with which participants employed the psychological strategies in daily life.
These findings suggest that self-blame-rebalance neurofeedback may be superior over a solely psychological intervention in non-anxious MDD, although further confirmatory studies are needed. Simple self-guided strategies tackling self-blame were beneficial, but need to be compared against treatment-as-usual in further trials. https://doi.org/10.1186/ISRCTN10526888
Anxiety and depressive disorders can be chronic and disabling. Although there are effective treatments, only a fraction of those impaired receive treatment. Predictors of treatment-seeking and treatment receipt could be informative for initiatives aiming to tackle the burden of untreated anxiety and depression.
To investigate sociodemographic characteristics associated with treatment-seeking and treatment receipt.
Two binary retrospective reports of lifetime treatment-seeking (n = 44 810) and treatment receipt (n = 37 346) were regressed on sociodemographic factors (age, gender, UK ethnic minority background, educational attainment, household income, neighbourhood deprivation and social isolation) and alternative coping strategies (self-medication with alcohol/drugs and self-help) in UK Biobank participants with lifetime generalised anxiety or major depressive disorder. Analyses were also stratified by gender.
Treatment access was more likely in those who reported use of self-help strategies, with university-level education and those from less economically advantaged circumstances (household income <£30 000 and greater neighbourhood deprivation). Treatment access was less likely in those who were male, from a UK ethnic minority background and with high household incomes (>£100 000). Men who self-medicated and/or had a vocational qualification were also less likely to seek treatment.
This work on retrospective reports of treatment-seeking and treatment receipt at any time of life replicates known associations with treatment-seeking and treatment receipt during time of treatment need. More work is required to understand whether improving rates of treatment-seeking improves prognostic outcomes for individuals with anxiety or depression.
The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) is a widely used measure of depression in primary care. It was, however, originally designed as a diagnostic screening tool, and not for measuring change in response to antidepressant treatment. Although the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomology (QIDS-SR-16) has been extensively validated for outcome measurement, it is poorly adopted in UK primary care, and, although free for clinicians, has licensing restrictions for healthcare organisation use.
We aimed to develop a modified version of the PHQ-9, the Maudsley Modified PHQ-9 (MM-PHQ-9), for tracking symptom changes in primary care. We tested the measure's validity, reliability and factor structure.
A sample of 121 participants was recruited across three studies, and comprised 78 participants with major depressive disorder and 43 controls. MM-PHQ-9 scores were compared with the QIDS-SR-16 and Clinical Global Impressions improvement scale, for concurrent validity. Internal consistency of the scale was assessed, and principal component analysis was conducted to determine the items’ factor structure.
The MM-PHQ-9 demonstrated good concurrent validity with the QIDS-SR-16, and excellent internal consistency. Sensitivity to change over a 14-week period was d = 0.41 compared with d = 0.61 on the QIDS-SR-16. Concurrent validity between the paper and mobile app versions of the MM-PHQ-9 was r = 0.67.
These results indicate that the MM-PHQ-9 is a valid and reliable measure of depressive symptoms in paper and mobile app format, although further validation is required. The measure was sensitive to change, demonstrating suitability for use in routine outcome assessment.
Exposures to adverse events are associated with impaired later-life psychological health. While these associations depend on the type of event, the manner in which associations for different event types depend on when they occur within the life course has received less attention. We investigated associations between counts of adverse events over the life course, and wellbeing and mental health outcomes in older people, according to their timing (age of occurrence), orientation (self or other) and, both their timing and orientation.
Linear and logistic random-effects models for repeated observations.
A total of 4,208 respondents aged >50 years with 22,146 observations across Waves 1–7 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
Cumulative adversity was measured by counts of 16 types of events occurring within four age ranges over the life course using retrospective life history data. These were categorized into other- (experienced through harms to others) and self-oriented events. Outcomes included CASP-12 (control, autonomy, self-realization, and pleasure), the eight-item Centre of Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, and self-appraised subjective life satisfaction.
Additional adverse events were associated with lower CASP-12 and life satisfaction scores, and higher odds of probable depressive caseness. In childhood, other-oriented events had a larger negative association with later-life wellbeing than self-oriented events; the converse was found for events occurring in adulthood.
Events occurring at all life course stages were independently associated with both later-life wellbeing and depression in a cumulative fashion. Certain age ranges may represent sensitive periods for specific event types.
Research on sickness absence has typically focussed on single diagnoses, despite increasing recognition that long-term health conditions are highly multimorbid and clusters comprising coexisting mental and physical conditions are associated with poorer clinical and functional outcomes. The digitisation of sickness certification in the UK offers an opportunity to address sickness absence in a large primary care population.
Lambeth Datanet is a primary care database which collects individual-level data on general practitioner consultations, prescriptions, Quality and Outcomes Framework diagnostic data, sickness certification (fit note receipt) and demographic information (including age, gender, self-identified ethnicity, and truncated postcode). We analysed 326 415 people's records covering a 40-month period from January 2014 to April 2017.
We found significant variation in multimorbidity by demographic variables, most notably by self-defined ethnicity. Multimorbid health conditions were associated with increased fit note receipt. Comorbid depression had the largest impact on first fit note receipt, more than any other comorbid diagnoses. Highest rates of first fit note receipt after adjustment for demographics were for comorbid epilepsy and rheumatoid arthritis (HR 4.69; 95% CI 1.73–12.68), followed by epilepsy and depression (HR 4.19; 95% CI 3.60–4.87), chronic pain and depression (HR 4.14; 95% CI 3.69–4.65), cardiac condition and depression (HR 4.08; 95% CI 3.36–4.95).
Our results show striking variation in multimorbid conditions by gender, deprivation and ethnicity, and highlight the importance of multimorbidity, in particular comorbid depression, as a leading cause of disability among working-age adults.
Various psychological and biological pathways have been proposed as mediators between childhood adversity (CA) and psychosis. A systematic review of the evidence in this domain is needed. Our aim is to systematically review the evidence on psychological and biological mediators between CA and psychosis across the psychosis spectrum. This review followed PRISMA guidelines. Articles published between 1979 and July 2019 were identified through a literature search in OVID (PsychINFO, Medline and Embase) and Cochrane Libraries. The evidence by each analysis and each study is presented by group of mediator categories found. The percentage of total effect mediated was calculated. Forty-eight studies were included, 21 in clinical samples and 27 in the general population (GP) with a total of 82 352 subjects from GP and 3189 from clinical studies. The quality of studies was judged as ‘fair’. Our results showed (i) solid evidence of mediation between CA and psychosis by negative cognitive schemas about the self, the world and others (NS); by dissociation and other post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms; and through an affective pathway in GP but not in subjects with disorder; (iii) lack of studies exploring biological mediators. We found evidence suggesting that various overlapping and not competing pathways involving post-traumatic and mood symptoms, as well as negative cognitions contribute partially to the link between CA and psychosis. Experiences of CA, along with relevant mediators should be routinely assessed in patients with psychosis. Evidence testing efficacy of interventions targeting such mediators through cognitive behavioural approaches and/or pharmacological means is needed in future.
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