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Original Research

Social Functioning in Depression: A Review.

Robert M. A. Hirschfeld, Stuart A. Montgomery, Martin B. Keller, Siegfried Kasper, Alan F. Schatzberg, Hans-Jurgen Moller, David Healy, David Baldwin, Mats Humble, Marcio Versiani, Roger Montenegro, and Marc Bourgeois

Published: September 30, 2000

Article Abstract

Objective: This article reviews the available data on social functioning in depression and provides clinical guidelines and opinion on this important and expanding field.

Data sources: A MEDLINE search was conducted to identify all English-language articles (1988-1999) using the search terms depression and social functioning, depression and social adjustment, depression and psychosocial functioning, and social functioning and antidepressant. Further articles were obtained from the bibliographies of relevant articles.

Data synthesis: Depressive disorders are frequently associated with significant and pervasive impairments in social functioning, often substantially worse than those experienced by patients with other chronic medical conditions. The enormous personal, social, and economic impact of depression, due in no small part to the associated impairments in social functioning, is often underappreciated. Both pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic approaches can improve social impairments, although there is a lack of extended, randomized controlled trials in this area using consistent assessment criteria.

Conclusion: Despite this lack, it is becoming clear that not all treatments are equally effective in relieving the impaired social functioning associated with depressive disorders. Furthermore, efficacy in relieving the core symptoms of depression does not necessarily guarantee efficacy in relieving impaired social functioning.

Volume: 61

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