The Cumulative Impact of Nonsevere Life Events Predicts Depression Recurrence During Maintenance Treatment With Interpersonal Psychotherapy

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Although much research has focused on the role of severe life events as risk factors for depression onset, less is known about the relationship between nonsevere life events and depression recurrence. The current study examined the cumulative effects of nonsevere and positive life events on depression recurrence in an outpatient sample of recurrently depressed women treated to remission with interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). A Cox proportional hazards model was used to test this relationship in 124 adult women who entered into the maintenance phase of IPT treatment and completed at least 1 Life Events and Difficulties Schedule interview. The cumulative experience of nonsevere life events that were subject- or joint-focused and nonindependent was significantly related to depression recurrence during the maintenance treatment phase. None of the other event categories were significantly related to depression recurrence. These findings may help to clarify the mechanisms by which life events contribute to depression recurrence and to guide the development of more efficacious maintenance treatments.

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