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Social Functioning and the Treatment of Depression

Myrna M. Weissman, PhD

Published: January 31, 2000

Article Abstract

For economic and scientific reasons, there has been a recent increase in the use of social functioningas an outcome measure in clinical trials of psychotropic drugs. The new antidepressants are moreexpensive than the older agents, and improvement in social functioning, e.g., return to work, may justifytheir use. New assessments (e.g., vitality, motivation, and performance) that go beyond symptomreduction may also capture a broader spectrum of outcomes for the newer drugs. This article presentsthe historical background and rationale for interest in social functioning as an outcome of treatmentwith psychotropic medications, presents recent examples of measures of social functioning from clinicaltrials of new antidepressants, discusses several of the methods for assessing social functioning,and suggests how these assessments can be used in clinical practice.

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