FUNCTIONAL HEALTH STATUS AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO DEPRESSIVE PERSONALITY DISORDER, DYSTHYMIA, AND MAJOR DEPRESSION: PRELIMINARY FINDINGS


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Abstract

Controversy continues on the extent to which depressive personality disorder (DPD) and dysthymic disorder (DYST) may be differentiated. Although affective disorders often are accompanied by changes in functional health status, to date no study has examined how functional health associated with affective disorders may assist in differentiating the two disorders. In this study, we hypothesized that measures of DPD would have fewer correlations with functional health status than would measures of DYST and major depressive disorder (MDD). African American women (n= 110) completed questionnaires that assessed for depressive disorders, somatic concerns, and physical health. Measures of DPD, DYST, and MDD were all significantly correlated with functional health status. When symptoms of MDD were controlled, DYST was more associated with functional health status than was a DSM-IV measure of DPD, although a self-report measure of DPD-the Depressive Personality Disorder Inventory [DPDI;Huprich et al., 1996: J Clin Psychol 52:152-159]—remained significantly correlated with functional health status. When symptoms of DYST were controlled, DSM-IV symptoms of DPD were not strongly associated with functional health status, although measures of MDD and the DPDI were correlated with functional health status. We concluded that despite the overlap in depressive symptoms and functional health status, DPD may be less associated with functional health status in a primary care population than DYST and MDD. Implications for the assessment of DPD are provided.

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