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Personality traits (e.g. neuroticism) and the social environment predict risk for internalizing disorders and suicidal behavior. Studying these characteristics together and prospectively within a population confronted with high stressor exposure (e.g. U.S. Army soldiers) has not been done, yet could uncover unique and interactive predictive effects that may inform prevention and early intervention efforts.
Five broad personality traits and social network size were assessed via self-administered questionnaires among experienced soldiers preparing for deployment (N = 4645) and new soldiers reporting for basic training (N = 6216). Predictive models examined associations of baseline personality and social network variables with recent distress disorders or suicidal behaviors assessed 3- and 9-months post-deployment and approximately 5 years following enlistment.
Among the personality traits, elevated neuroticism was consistently associated with increased mental health risk following deployment. Small social networks were also associated with increased mental health risk following deployment, beyond the variance accounted for by personality. Limited support was found for social network size moderating the association between personality and mental health outcomes. Small social networks also predicted distress disorders and suicidal behavior 5 years following enlistment, whereas unique effects of personality traits on these more distal outcomes were rare.
Heightened neuroticism and small social networks predict a greater risk for negative mental health sequelae, especially following deployment. Social ties may mitigate adverse impacts of personality traits on psychopathology in some contexts. Early identification and targeted intervention for these distinct, modifiable factors may decrease the risk of distress disorders and suicidal behavior.
In recent decades, it has seemed as though queer people and women's rights advocates were making progress in the culture war over the family. From 2001 to 2021, 31 countries legalized marriage for same-sex couples. Majorities in the United States and European Union countries came to support same-sex marriage and other fundamental rights for LGBTQ families. Although some variation remains, divorce is now relatively easy to attain in most Western nations around the world. Parentage and custody rights for same-sex couples are increasingly the norm in Western democracies.
Yet, despite this growing support for pluralistic family forms, divisions remain, and, in many countries, legal victories for religious conservatives threaten to scale back progress for women and sexual minorities. For example, in 2018, the United States Supreme Court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in favor of a baker who refused service to a same-sex couple because of the baker's religious beliefs. In the past seven years, three politically motivated lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate on religious and moral grounds landed in the Supreme Court. In 2021, the Court sided with a Catholic adoption agency that refused to work with LGBTQ couples. Women's and girls’ right to terminate a pregnancy, even before viability and even in cases of rape or incest, is in peril, with the Supreme Court deciding to sit by and watch for months as Texas, the country's second-largest state, passed a law criminalizing abortion and effectively rendering Roe v. Wade a dead letter. With a new supermajority on the Supreme Court since 2020, social conservatives in the United States have pressed forward with a sweeping set of religious exemptions from public services and nondiscrimination laws that threaten to turn respect for group differences into a license to discriminate. And these recent attacks go well beyond the conservatives’ bread and butter issues of abortion and “the family”—as evidenced by pandemic-era religious freedom challenges to even basic public health measures such as mask mandates, immunizations, and restrictions on large gatherings. That is, despite increased acceptance of pluralistic family forms, it seems that the United States is suddenly awash in a tide of religiosity.
Racial and ethnic groups in the USA differ in the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recent research however has not observed consistent racial/ethnic differences in posttraumatic stress in the early aftermath of trauma, suggesting that such differences in chronic PTSD rates may be related to differences in recovery over time.
As part of the multisite, longitudinal AURORA study, we investigated racial/ethnic differences in PTSD and related outcomes within 3 months after trauma. Participants (n = 930) were recruited from emergency departments across the USA and provided periodic (2 weeks, 8 weeks, and 3 months after trauma) self-report assessments of PTSD, depression, dissociation, anxiety, and resilience. Linear models were completed to investigate racial/ethnic differences in posttraumatic dysfunction with subsequent follow-up models assessing potential effects of prior life stressors.
Racial/ethnic groups did not differ in symptoms over time; however, Black participants showed reduced posttraumatic depression and anxiety symptoms overall compared to Hispanic participants and White participants. Racial/ethnic differences were not attenuated after accounting for differences in sociodemographic factors. However, racial/ethnic differences in depression and anxiety were no longer significant after accounting for greater prior trauma exposure and childhood emotional abuse in White participants.
The present findings suggest prior differences in previous trauma exposure partially mediate the observed racial/ethnic differences in posttraumatic depression and anxiety symptoms following a recent trauma. Our findings further demonstrate that racial/ethnic groups show similar rates of symptom recovery over time. Future work utilizing longer time-scale data is needed to elucidate potential racial/ethnic differences in long-term symptom trajectories.
Longitudinal data on the mental health impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in healthcare workers is limited. We estimated prevalence, incidence and persistence of probable mental disorders in a cohort of Spanish healthcare workers (Covid-19 waves 1 and 2) -and identified associated risk factors.
8996 healthcare workers evaluated on 5 May–7 September 2020 (baseline) were invited to a second web-based survey (October–December 2020). Major depressive disorder (PHQ-8 ≥ 10), generalised anxiety disorder (GAD-7 ≥ 10), panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PCL-5 ≥ 7), and alcohol use disorder (CAGE-AID ≥ 2) were assessed. Distal (pre-pandemic) and proximal (pandemic) risk factors were included. We estimated the incidence of probable mental disorders (among those without disorders at baseline) and persistence (among those with disorders at baseline). Logistic regression of individual-level [odds ratios (OR)] and population-level (population attributable risk proportions) associations were estimated, adjusting by all distal risk factors, health care centre and time of baseline interview.
4809 healthcare workers participated at four months follow-up (cooperation rate = 65.7%; mean = 120 days s.d. = 22 days from baseline assessment). Follow-up prevalence of any disorder was 41.5%, (v. 45.4% at baseline, p < 0.001); incidence, 19.7% (s.e. = 1.6) and persistence, 67.7% (s.e. = 2.3). Proximal factors showing significant bivariate-adjusted associations with incidence included: work-related factors [prioritising Covid-19 patients (OR = 1.62)], stress factors [personal health-related stress (OR = 1.61)], interpersonal stress (OR = 1.53) and financial factors [significant income loss (OR = 1.37)]. Risk factors associated with persistence were largely similar.
Our study indicates that the prevalence of probable mental disorders among Spanish healthcare workers during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was similarly high to that after the first wave. This was in good part due to the persistence of mental disorders detected at the baseline, but with a relevant incidence of about 1 in 5 of HCWs without mental disorders during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Health-related factors, work-related factors and interpersonal stress are important risks of persistence of mental disorders and of incidence of mental disorders. Adequately addressing these factors might have prevented a considerable amount of mental health impact of the pandemic among this vulnerable population. Addressing health-related stress, work-related factors and interpersonal stress might reduce the prevalence of these disorders substantially. Study registration number: NCT04556565
The most common treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) is antidepressant medication (ADM). Results are reported on frequency of ADM use, reasons for use, and perceived effectiveness of use in general population surveys across 20 countries.
Face-to-face interviews with community samples totaling n = 49 919 respondents in the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys asked about ADM use anytime in the prior 12 months in conjunction with validated fully structured diagnostic interviews. Treatment questions were administered independently of diagnoses and asked of all respondents.
3.1% of respondents reported ADM use within the past 12 months. In high-income countries (HICs), depression (49.2%) and anxiety (36.4%) were the most common reasons for use. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), depression (38.4%) and sleep problems (31.9%) were the most common reasons for use. Prevalence of use was 2–4 times as high in HICs as LMICs across all examined diagnoses. Newer ADMs were proportionally used more often in HICs than LMICs. Across all conditions, ADMs were reported as very effective by 58.8% of users and somewhat effective by an additional 28.3% of users, with both proportions higher in LMICs than HICs. Neither ADM class nor reason for use was a significant predictor of perceived effectiveness.
ADMs are in widespread use and for a variety of conditions including but going beyond depression and anxiety. In a general population sample from multiple LMICs and HICs, ADMs were widely perceived to be either very or somewhat effective by the people who use them.
This study aimed to develop, validate and compare the performance of models predicting post-treatment outcomes for depressed adults based on pre-treatment data.
Individual patient data from all six eligible randomised controlled trials were used to develop (k = 3, n = 1722) and test (k = 3, n = 918) nine models. Predictors included depressive and anxiety symptoms, social support, life events and alcohol use. Weighted sum scores were developed using coefficient weights derived from network centrality statistics (models 1–3) and factor loadings from a confirmatory factor analysis (model 4). Unweighted sum score models were tested using elastic net regularised (ENR) and ordinary least squares (OLS) regression (models 5 and 6). Individual items were then included in ENR and OLS (models 7 and 8). All models were compared to one another and to a null model (mean post-baseline Beck Depression Inventory Second Edition (BDI-II) score in the training data: model 9). Primary outcome: BDI-II scores at 3–4 months.
Models 1–7 all outperformed the null model and model 8. Model performance was very similar across models 1–6, meaning that differential weights applied to the baseline sum scores had little impact.
Any of the modelling techniques (models 1–7) could be used to inform prognostic predictions for depressed adults with differences in the proportions of patients reaching remission based on the predicted severity of depressive symptoms post-treatment. However, the majority of variance in prognosis remained unexplained. It may be necessary to include a broader range of biopsychosocial variables to better adjudicate between competing models, and to derive models with greater clinical utility for treatment-seeking adults with depression.
To determine whether age, gender and marital status are associated with prognosis for adults with depression who sought treatment in primary care.
Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and Cochrane Central were searched from inception to 1st December 2020 for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of adults seeking treatment for depression from their general practitioners, that used the Revised Clinical Interview Schedule so that there was uniformity in the measurement of clinical prognostic factors, and that reported on age, gender and marital status. Individual participant data were gathered from all nine eligible RCTs (N = 4864). Two-stage random-effects meta-analyses were conducted to ascertain the independent association between: (i) age, (ii) gender and (iii) marital status, and depressive symptoms at 3–4, 6–8,<Vinod: Please carry out the deletion of serial commas throughout the article> and 9–12 months post-baseline and remission at 3–4 months. Risk of bias was evaluated using QUIPS and quality was assessed using GRADE. PROSPERO registration: CRD42019129512. Pre-registered protocol https://osf.io/e5zup/.
There was no evidence of an association between age and prognosis before or after adjusting for depressive ‘disorder characteristics’ that are associated with prognosis (symptom severity, durations of depression and anxiety, comorbid panic disorderand a history of antidepressant treatment). Difference in mean depressive symptom score at 3–4 months post-baseline per-5-year increase in age = 0(95% CI: −0.02 to 0.02). There was no evidence for a difference in prognoses for men and women at 3–4 months or 9–12 months post-baseline, but men had worse prognoses at 6–8 months (percentage difference in depressive symptoms for men compared to women: 15.08% (95% CI: 4.82 to 26.35)). However, this was largely driven by a single study that contributed data at 6–8 months and not the other time points. Further, there was little evidence for an association after adjusting for depressive ‘disorder characteristics’ and employment status (12.23% (−1.69 to 28.12)). Participants that were either single (percentage difference in depressive symptoms for single participants: 9.25% (95% CI: 2.78 to 16.13) or no longer married (8.02% (95% CI: 1.31 to 15.18)) had worse prognoses than those that were married, even after adjusting for depressive ‘disorder characteristics’ and all available confounders.
Clinicians and researchers will continue to routinely record age and gender, but despite their importance for incidence and prevalence of depression, they appear to offer little information regarding prognosis. Patients that are single or no longer married may be expected to have slightly worse prognoses than those that are married. Ensuring this is recorded routinely alongside depressive ‘disorder characteristics’ in clinic may be important.
This is the first report on the association between trauma exposure and depression from the Advancing Understanding of RecOvery afteR traumA(AURORA) multisite longitudinal study of adverse post-traumatic neuropsychiatric sequelae (APNS) among participants seeking emergency department (ED) treatment in the aftermath of a traumatic life experience.
We focus on participants presenting at EDs after a motor vehicle collision (MVC), which characterizes most AURORA participants, and examine associations of participant socio-demographics and MVC characteristics with 8-week depression as mediated through peritraumatic symptoms and 2-week depression.
Eight-week depression prevalence was relatively high (27.8%) and associated with several MVC characteristics (being passenger v. driver; injuries to other people). Peritraumatic distress was associated with 2-week but not 8-week depression. Most of these associations held when controlling for peritraumatic symptoms and, to a lesser degree, depressive symptoms at 2-weeks post-trauma.
These observations, coupled with substantial variation in the relative strength of the mediating pathways across predictors, raises the possibility of diverse and potentially complex underlying biological and psychological processes that remain to be elucidated in more in-depth analyses of the rich and evolving AURORA database to find new targets for intervention and new tools for risk-based stratification following trauma exposure.
The treatment gap between the number of people with mental disorders and the number treated represents a major public health challenge. We examine this gap by socio-economic status (SES; indicated by family income and respondent education) and service sector in a cross-national analysis of community epidemiological survey data.
Data come from 16 753 respondents with 12-month DSM-IV disorders from community surveys in 25 countries in the WHO World Mental Health Survey Initiative. DSM-IV anxiety, mood, or substance disorders and treatment of these disorders were assessed with the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
Only 13.7% of 12-month DSM-IV/CIDI cases in lower-middle-income countries, 22.0% in upper-middle-income countries, and 36.8% in high-income countries received treatment. Highest-SES respondents were somewhat more likely to receive treatment, but this was true mostly for specialty mental health treatment, where the association was positive with education (highest treatment among respondents with the highest education and a weak association of education with treatment among other respondents) but non-monotonic with income (somewhat lower treatment rates among middle-income respondents and equivalent among those with high and low incomes).
The modest, but nonetheless stronger, an association of education than income with treatment raises questions about a financial barriers interpretation of the inverse association of SES with treatment, although future within-country analyses that consider contextual factors might document other important specifications. While beyond the scope of this report, such an expanded analysis could have important implications for designing interventions aimed at increasing mental disorder treatment among socio-economically disadvantaged people.