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Factors Associated With Greater Severity of Depression in Chilean Primary Care Patients

Verónica Vitriol, MD, MSc; Alfredo Cancino, MD; Soledad Ballesteros, BSoc.Cs; Soledad Potthoff, MD; and Carlos Serrano, MSc

Published: May 4, 2017

Article Abstract

Objective: To determine clinical and psychosocial variables associated with increased depression severity in patients who consult public primary health care clinics (PHCs) in Chile.

Methods: The study included 394 patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) according to ICD-10 criteria who were evaluated between February and September 2014 using a sociodemographic interview, the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), a screening for childhood trauma, a scale for partner violence, the Life Events Survey (LES), and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD).

Results: Positive correlations were determined between greater severity of depression and more frequency of depressive episodes (r = 0.2, P < .01), psychiatric comorbidities (r = 0.36, P < .01), number of childhood traumatic events (r = 0.19, P < .01), intimate partner violence events (r = 0.155, P < .01), and stressful life events (r = 0.13, P < .05). Inverse correlation was determined with the age at first episode (r = 0.16, P < .01). The psychiatric comorbidities explained most of the variability of depressive symptoms (11.7%); addition of child abuse to the comorbidities increased the correlation to 12.7%.

Conclusions: The different covariates considered in this sample showed that psychiatric comorbidity played the principal role in explaining the severity of depression.

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