Factors associated with life satisfaction in a 6-year follow-up of depressive out-patients
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- Koivumaa-Honkanen, H., Rissanen, T., Hintikka, J. et al. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2011) 46: 595. doi:10.1007/s00127-010-0225-z
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The major goal of mental health services is to improve mental health and thus also life satisfaction. However, studies assessing factors associated with life satisfaction during recovery from depression are lacking.
A 6-year natural follow-up of 121 depressive out-patients was carried out with questionnaires at baseline, 1/2, 1, 2 and 6 years completed. A structured diagnostic interview was conducted. Throughout the follow-up, clinical status was assessed with several psychometric scales for life satisfaction (LS), depression (BDI, HDRS), hopelessness (HS), functional ability (GAF, SOFAS) and general psychopathology (SCL).
Men and women did not differ in their improvement in life satisfaction. Altogether, 77% of the patients at baseline and 22% at the end were dissatisfied. Life satisfaction on 6-year follow-up was associated with baseline lower interpersonal sensitivity (SCL subscale) and concurrently being loved by someone as well as with baseline and concurrent good self-rated health and wealth. The satisfied were better off in terms of all clinical variables, regardless of the measurement time. Depressive symptoms and hopelessness were the strongest concurrent clinical correlates of LS after 6 years.
Mental health was strongly related to life satisfaction throughout the follow-up, while most of the non-clinical factors were not. Alleviating depression and interpersonal sensitivity and supporting social networks should be focused on in psychiatric treatment in order to improve life satisfaction among depressive patients.