Fear of depression recurrence among individuals with remitted depression: a qualitative interview study.

Fear of depression recurrence among individuals with remitted depression: a qualitative interview study.

Publication date: Feb 21, 2024

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a prevalent psychiatric condition and the largest contributor to disability worldwide. MDD is highly recurrent, yet little is known about the mechanisms that occur following a Major Depressive Episode (MDE) and underlie recurrence. We explored the concept of fear of depression recurrence (FoDR) and its impact on daily functioning among individuals in remission from MDD. 30 participants (83% female; 37% White; M = 27. 7, SD = 8. 96) underwent semi-structured qualitative interviews. The interviews explored participants’ experiences of FoDR including the frequency, severity, content, triggers, and impact of fears and associated coping strategies. We used content analysis to analyze the transcriptions. Most participants (73%) reported having FoDR, with varying frequency, severity, and duration of fears. The triggers and content of participants’ fears often mirrored the symptoms (e. g., low mood, anhedonia) and consequences (e. g., job loss, social withdrawal) endured during past MDEs. Some participants reported a minimal impact of FoDR on daily functioning, whereas others reported a positive (e. g., personal growth) or negative (e. g., increased anxiety) influence. Our sample size did not allow for explorations of differences in FoDR across unique MDD subtypes or sociocultural factors. The concept of FoDR may present a window into understanding the unique cognitive and behavioural changes that occur following MDD remission and underlie depression recurrence. Future research should aim to identify underlying individual differences and characteristics of the disorder that may influence the presence and impact of FoDR. Finally, a FoDR measure should be developed so that associations between FoDR and recurrence risk, depressive symptoms, and other indices of functioning can be determined.

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Concepts Keywords
Anhedonia Content analysis
Daily Major depressive disorder
Interviews Qualitative inquiry


Type Source Name
disease MESH Major Depressive Disorder
drug DRUGBANK Methylenedioxyethamphetamine
disease MESH anhedonia
pathway REACTOME Reproduction
disease MESH chronic condition
disease MESH anxiety disorders
disease MESH oxidative stress
drug DRUGBANK Hydrocortisone
disease MESH psychotic disorders
drug DRUGBANK L-Phenylalanine
disease MESH bipolar disorder
disease MESH mental disorders
disease MESH psychological distress
disease MESH COVID 19
drug DRUGBANK Pentaerythritol tetranitrate
disease MESH Eating Disorder
disease MESH Anorexia
disease MESH Binge Eating Disorder
disease MESH Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
disease MESH uncertainty
disease MESH Psychosocial Functioning
disease MESH Obsession
disease MESH suicidal ideation
drug DRUGBANK Trihexyphenidyl
disease MESH cancer
drug DRUGBANK Methionine
disease MESH neuroticism
disease MESH skin cancer
disease MESH mood disorders
disease MESH stroke
disease MESH breast cancer
pathway KEGG Breast cancer
disease MESH schizophrenia
drug DRUGBANK Serotonin
drug DRUGBANK Trestolone
disease MESH Depressive Disorders
disease MESH comorbidity
drug DRUGBANK Coenzyme M

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