, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 74-79

Differential metabolization of the impact of life events on subjects hospitalized for depressive and anxiety disorders: case-control study

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Background The study of the relationship between life events and mental illness has progressed considerably over the last 30 years. Practically all mental disorders have been explored using a variety of methods of variable value. The results are in favor of the existence of a temporal link between life events and illness. The part played by life events is the most pronounced in triggering depressive disorders and attempted suicide. Many aspects of this relationship have been explored, but the ability to metabolize the event impact over time has never been studied. This paper reports the results of a longitudinal study. Its objective is to make a comparative study of the ability to metabolize event impacts in depressive in-patients and controls. Methods The investigation was designed as a longitudinal, clinical, case-control study constructed on in-patients with depressive and anxiety disorders (n=25) and healthy controls from the community (n=28). The absence or presence of mental pathology was assessed using the SCAN, events and event-impacts were reported by subjects from a list of events constructed from the LEDS framework. Results The results show that the ability to metabolize the event-impact is positively linked to the mental health status of subjects, and that the first self-assessment of the event-impact has a good predictive capacity on the progression of this score a few months later and then 15–18 months later both in in-patients and in controls.

Accepted: 19 June 2001