Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 903–910

Bouncing back: remission from depression in a 12-year panel study of a representative Canadian community sample


    • Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of Toronto
  • Marla Battiston
    • Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of Toronto
  • Tahany M. Gadalla
    • Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of Toronto
  • Sarah Brennenstuhl
    • Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of Toronto
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00127-013-0814-8

Cite this article as:
Fuller-Thomson, E., Battiston, M., Gadalla, T.M. et al. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2014) 49: 903. doi:10.1007/s00127-013-0814-8



This study sought to investigate time to remission from depression in a community-based sample of adults followed for 12 years.


Data were derived from the National Population Health Survey (1994/5–2006/7 and 1996/7–2008/9). Fully 1,128 adults were included who were depressed at baseline according to DSM-III/CIDI-SF criteria. Kaplan–Meier and Cox proportional hazards procedures were used to determine time to remission and the demographic (e.g., gender and marital status), psychosocial (e.g., social support and adverse childhood experience) and health-related (e.g., pain, health conditions and alcohol use) factors with which it is associated.


More than three quarters of the sample (77 %) no longer screened positive for depression at 2 years, and nearly the entire sample (94 %) had remitted by 12 years. Adverse childhood experiences (i.e., childhood abuse and parental additions), lack of social support, the presence of pain and health conditions (i.e., migraines, arthritis and back pain) each predicted more time to remission. The only factor associated with time to remission in the multivariate analysis was a history of childhood physical abuse.


Most community members with depression get better after 2 years and nearly all will have remitted, at least once, by 12 years. The results of this study may help guide the development of interventions for chronic depression that focus on early prevention of childhood abuse.


Survival analysisCIDI-SFChildhood abuseAdverse childhood experiences

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014